Manama: A foreign company had to apologise after it misnamed the Arabian Gulf in a textbook commissioned by the Ministry of Education.
Under the deal, the company that went unnamed was to print 17,000 copies of a textbook in English for third graders.
The ministry provided the material for the book, including a map of the region that refers to the Gulf, the waterway separating the Arabian Peninsula from Iran, as the Arabian Gulf.
However, upon reception of the textbooks, the ministry discovered that the map had been replaced by another that referred to the Arabian Gulf as the “Persian” Gulf.
The ministry rejected the textbooks and the company sent a representative to Bahrain to offer an apology for the mistake.
The company fixed the error and re-printed 17,000 copies of the textbook, Fawaz Al Shroogui, the head of public Relations and media at the ministry, said on Monday.
The GCC and Iran have often been at odds over the name of the waterway that separates them.
Tehran has vehemently insisted on using the word “Persian” and has taken action against publications referring to it by its correct name.
The Arabian Gulf, to the east of Arab countries and west of Iran, has an area of 233,100 square kilometres and extends 970 kilometres from the Shatt Al Arab delta to the Strait of Hormuz, which links it with the Sea of Oman.
In 2009, the Saudi-based Islamic Solidarity Games Federation cancelled the Islamic Solidarity Games planned to be held in Tehran after Iran placed the word “Persian” on the logo.
The Islamic Solidarity Games, meant to strengthen unity among the 57 member states, were originally scheduled for October 2009, but were postponed in an attempt to reach a compromise.
In May 2010, Iran shut down Egypt’s stall at Tehran’s international book fair for selling a book using the original Arabian Gulf name.
“Police on patrol disguised as visitors stumbled upon a book entitled ‘Arabian Gulf Encyclopedia’, offered in the Egyptian pavilion at the Tehran International Book Fair,” Tehran Police Chief Hussain Sajedinia said, quoted by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
“Consequently, the pavilion was shut down and police forces recovered the distributed copies of the book with the help of the book fair officials and judicial authorities.”
In August 2010, the mayor of Shiraz in southwestern Iran called for action against Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air for not using the word “Persian”.
Hussain Qasimi said Iranian passengers who board Gulf Air planes in Shiraz were upset that the airline did not refer to the Arabian Gulf as “Persian”.
According to the New York Times, the US Navy has used Arabian Gulf since the 1991 Gulf War, citing a spokesman for the United States Fifth Fleet whose headquarters are in Bahrain.
“It is commonly understood to be a friendly gesture of solidarity and support for our host nation of Bahrain and our other Gulf Cooperation Council partners in the region to use the term they prefer,” Commander Stephens wrote in an email.