Image Credit: Gulf News

Manama: The mayor of Shiraz in the southwest of Iran has called for action against Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air for not using the 'Persian' Gulf name.

Hussain Qasimi said that Iranian passengers who board Gulf Air planes in Shiraz are upset that the airline does not refer to the Gulf as 'Persian Gulf'. They have also been complaining about ill-treatment by Gulf Air crews, the mayor said, according to conservative Iranian daily Kayhan.

The mayor said that Iran's foreign ministry should move into action against the airline for not adopting the name, Kuwaiti news portal Al Aan reported.

Gulf Air, founded in 1950, was initially co-owned by Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Abu Dhabi.

At odds over name

Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have often been at odds over the name of the waterway that separates them. Tehran has vehemently insisted on calling the Arabian Gulf by the name Persian Gulf and has taken action against publications referring to it by the correct name.

The Arabian Gulf, which lies to the east of Arab countries and west of Iran, gets its name from the fact that its waters lap the shores of Arab countries like the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq.

In December, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain's Foreign Minister said that the issue should not be overplayed and that it was only about a body of water.

"I have heard a variety of names, such as Arabian Gulf, Gulf of the Arabs, Persian Gulf, etc. It is just a body of water," he said at the Manama Dialogue.

The Gulf 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 Gulf of Oman.

Tehran said at the time that it was banning the new edition of the atlas, as well as National Geographic journalists, until the map for the Gulf region was modified to its satisfaction.

In January, the Saudi-based Islamic Solidarity Games Federation cancelled the Islamic Solidarity Games planned to be held in Tehran after Iran put ‘Persian Gulf' 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.