Iran strongly rebuked Iraq and FIFA chief Gianni Infantino for using the word “Arabian” instead of “Persian” in referring to Persian Gulf.
As Iraq is currently hosting the 25th round of the Persian Gulf’s Arab Cup, the choice of the term “Arabian Gulf” by Iraqi officials instead of Persian Gulf sparked strong criticism among Iranian statesmen. The Cup started this week with the presence of Gianni Infantino, the president of the World Football Federation, and less than a month after the World Cup was held in Qatar.
During the opening ceremony in Basra, the capital city of Iraq, Infantino used the term “Arabian Gulf” as did Iraq’s new Iraqi Prime Minister Nasser Shia al-Sudani. Moqtada Sadr, Iraq’s Shia cleric, who is also the leader of Sadrist Movement, also used the term ‘Arab Gulf’ in his tweet to welcome the Arab guests to Basra.
The Cup is held every four years with the participation of soccer teams from Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Iraq is a country shaken by war and terror, and its national football team was, due to lack of security, not allowed to appear on the international stage for many years. After the attack on Kuwait back in 1990, Iraq’s football team was banned from many international competitions.
Iranian officials reacted to the misuse of the term
Alireza Salimi, a member of the Iranian Parliament, attacked Iraqi Prime Minister and Muqtada al-Sadr, for what he termed ‘a hostile action.’
During his speech in Iran’s parliament this Monday, Salimi asserted that “I advise the Iraqi prime minister and Muqtada al-Sadr to apologize and stop these kinds of contentious actions that are against the interests of the two nations and can create disputes between these two long-time allies and neighbors.”
The Iranian Football Federation also noted in a statement that it formally protested against FIFA for distorting the name of the Persian Gulf.
“Following the use of a fake word instead of the historical title of the Persian Gulf in the competitions of the Arab Nations Cup, the football federation, while emphasizing the deep concepts of the Persian Gulf, hereby expresses its official protest of Iran’s football community and the nation of Iran to the World Football Federation,” the statement read.
The Iranian Football Federation also emphasized in its statement that the Persian Gulf is an original and historical name that is used in all languages and is mentioned as ‘Persian Gulf’, not ‘Arab Gulf’ even in the most ancient maps.
Likewise, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Naser Kanaani confirmed on Monday that Iran had officially complained to Iraq about the matter. Kanaani, said in his press conference on January 19th (January 9th) in response to a question about the name of this tournament: “The diplomatic apparatus has reacted to this issue, but the lack of information in this regard to It does not mean no action. The Persian Gulf is always the Persian Gulf, and after learning about this, we immediately expressed our protest to the Iraqi government”. According to him, the Ministry of Sports and Youth has also expressed its objection to the controversial move. The Iraqi government has not yet commented on the issue.