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Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Iran's threat to airlines
In a new bullying tactic by the Islamic Republic, Iran has threatened all airlines that do not refer to the block of water South of its lands as "Persian Gulf" with grounding of their planes. The following article in the words of seasoned writer Loveday Morris of The National explains more.
This has serious implications on many airlines connecting Iran with the rest of civilisation. The threat extends to airlines using the neutral term "The Gulf" as well. Notice the threatening use of language from Tehran, implying that by using a name such as "Persian Gulf", they have some kind of right over the Arab states that surround it. ABIT like England claiming part of France since it overlooks the English Channel.
“The airlines of the southern Persian Gulf flying to Iran are warned to use the term Persian Gulf on their electronic display boards,” said Mr Hamid Behbahani (Iran's Transport Minister), according to IRNA, the Iranian state news agency."
This blog has always asserted that the world historically called the body of water Persian, and that the Arab states would probably continue calling it Persian if it weren't for Iran's increasingly hostile stance towards its Muslim neighbours since the 1960s. Very ironic given that it's the region's only "Islamic Republic".
Forget for a second typical Israeli fear for their own lives (they sent live pilots into Iraq in the early 1980s to destroy their nuclear plants) by sending drones. However, Israel is a serious threat, whilst Iran's bark is most likely more threatening than its bite.
* Last Updated: February 23. 2010 12:20AM UAE / February 22. 2010 8:20PM GMT
Iran has demanded all in-flight mentions of the waterway to use the "Persian Gulf" or airlines risk being banned from Iranian airspace. Jumana El Heloueh / Reuters
Iran has warned airlines that fail to use the term “Persian Gulf” on their in-flight monitors that they will be banned from the Islamic Republic’s airspace, which could have an impact on UAE-based carriers.
Hamid Behbahani, Iran’s transport minister, has demanded an apology from the Iranian airline Kish Air after one of its stewards referred to the Arabian Gulf during a recent flight.
The minister described the term as “bogus” and went on to threaten other airlines.
“The airlines of the southern Persian Gulf flying to Iran are warned to use the term Persian Gulf on their electronic display boards,” said Mr Behbahani, according to IRNA, the Iranian state news agency.
“If the airlines aren’t willing, they will be forbidden to fly in Iranian airspace for a month on the first violation, and upon repetition the aircraft will be grounded in Iran and flight permits to Iran will be revoked.”
A spokeswoman for Emirates Airline, who declined to be named, said the airline tries not to use either term.
“In our in-flight magazine and on our website, the area in question has not been labelled, as the focus is on our destination cities,” the Emirates spokeswoman said.
She could not confirm how the area was referred to on in-flight route-mapping displays, or whether the airline had been contacted by Iranian authorities. The airline operates 21 weekly flights to Tehran.
Etihad Airways and Air Arabia could not provide comment yesterday.
A Greek air steward for Kish Air was fired and given 20 days to leave the country after he used the term Arabian Gulf on a Tehran-bound flight earlier this week. The unnamed flight attendant threatened to detain passengers when they complained of his use of the term, according to IRNA.
Noufal Mohammed, the manager of Kish Air’s Dubai office, declined to comment on the incident.
The name of the waterway has been a source of contention between Iran and the Arab countries that border it for decades.
It is referred to as the Persian Gulf on most maps and documents published before 1960, but Arab states argue it should be known as the Arabian Gulf, since most of the countries that surround it are Arab ones.
Some people and organisations avoid either name and refer to the area simply as “the Gulf”. But even that is often met with anger in Iran, which often cites the United Nations endorsement of the term “Persian Gulf” for the body of water.
Dr Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a politics professor at UAE University, said he did not think much would come of the threat, which he described as “bullying”.
“It’s a non-issue that Iran is trying to make into a political issue,” he said. “There are much more important issues to attend to in the region.”