Iran accuses Google of ‘fabricating lies’ for leaving Gulf nameless on its maps

Iran accuses Google of ‘fabricating lies’ for leaving Gulf nameless on its maps

Iran has lashed out at yet another Internet giant, this time going after Google for what it sees as an egregious omission on Google Maps, AFP reports.

The body of water separating Iran from the Arabian peninsula has been a point of contention between Iran and the Gulf nation states, who choose to refer to it as the Arabian Gulf. Iran refers to it as the Persian Gulf.

Google has left itself out of the map argument by simply not calling it anything at all.

Google’s approach can be seen as diplomatic, or as simply burying its head in the sand, but that’s really just a matter of opinion.

Iran’s own very strong opinion, as told by a deputy in the Culture and Islamic Guidance Minstry, Bahman Dorri, is this:

“Google fabricating lies… will not have any outcome but for its users to lose trust in the data the company provides.”

The Iranian official also pointed to UN and UNESCO maps and documents which refer to the body of water as the Persian Gulf, adding, “The efforts of (global) arrogance and its Arab allies to remove the name of Persian Gulf will result in its name becoming more durable.”

Google isn’t alone in facing Iran’s wrath over the map mishap. In 2010, airlines were warned that using the term the Arabian Gulf on those mind-bogglingly annoying in-flight monitors meant that they would no longer be welcome in Iranian airspace.

Iran’s Internet users have taken to Twitter and Google forums, as well as organising online protests and signing petitions expressing their anger at the omission.

Before the official Iranian statement was made, Google justified its approach telling the BBC that not every place in the world is named on the company’s maps, and that it did not want to take a political stance in response to Iran’s reaction, but was unable to provide a similar example.

While the Gulf has been left unnamed on the maps, a search for Persian Gulf takes you to the middle of the body of water, while the Arabian Gulf zooms right in to the Dubai coast.

Google products periodically find themselves blocked in Iran, most recently in February when Gmail, YouTube, along with all SSL sites were temporarily inaccessible in Iran.

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