Iranian Netizens are expressing anger over Google Maps' decision to leave the body of water between Saudi Arabia and Iran nameless.
Iran and the Arab Gulf states disagree over what to call the Gulf between them: The former say it is the Persian Gulf, and the latter say it is the Arabian Gulf.
A Google representative told the BBC the company does not want to take a political stance on the issue. The rep could not recall any other geographic feature that Google has refrained from naming, the BBC reported.
While Google Maps appears to be taking no side in a naming dispute that has gone on for years, the omission has not gone unnoticed.
Google's online-product forums feature a multitude of posts by outraged Iranians regarding the issue.
I want you to know how much you have [made Iranian people suffer] by changing or omitting our national territorial and geographical names on your maps. This is very important for us as you keep thousand-year-old geographical names out of political discord, one user wrote on the forums.
On Google Maps, a search for Persian Gulf leads to the disputed body of water, while a search for Arabian Gulf does not. The latter search yields various results, including points off the coasts of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (as well as a landlocked consultancy in Escondido, Calif.).
The development comes soon after Iran celebrated Persian Gulf Day on April 29, marking the third international biannual conference on the Persian Gulf, according to Iran's state-owned Press TV.
Naming the national day of the Persian Gulf is mainly a response to [changing] the historical name of this waterway to the Arabian Gulf, Press TV reported.
Iran also required all inbound airline flights to use the name Persian Gulf in 2010, British newspaper the Telegraph reported. Offenders face a one-month suspension for the first offense and a complete ban for the second.
The naming row also led to the cancellation of the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2010. Arab state participants backed out after the Iranian hosts used the name Persian Gulf on the medals.
Perhaps the name Persian Gulf makes no sense, either. The country of Iran has not been officially called Persia since 1935, per the order issued by then-ruler Reza Shah.