TEHRAN, Iran – Airlines not referring to the waterway between Iran and the Arabian peninsula as the Persian Gulf will be banned from Iranian airspace, the transport minister told local media Monday.
The warning was directed specifically toward the airlines of neighboring Gulf Arab countries who have a history of referring to the body of water as the "Arabian Gulf."
"The airlines of the southern Persian gulf countries flying to Iran must use 'Persian Gulf' on their flight monitors," Hamid Behbahani told the IRAN daily.
Airlines ignoring the warning would be banned from Iranian airspace, while repeat offenders would have their planes grounded in Iran and "the companies' flight permits to Iran canceled."
The report said Iran expelled a Greek flight attendant from the private Iranian airline, Kish Air, for using "Arabian Gulf" on a monitor over the weekend.
Iranians are traditionally sensitive over the historic name of the waterway between Iran and seven Arab nations.
Last month the Saudi-based Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation said it canceled the Islamic Solidarity Games in April because its Iranian host planned to use Persian Gulf on banners and medals.
In 2004, Iran banned American National Geographic for using Arabian Gulf instead of the Persian Gulf. In 2005, National Geographic revised its world atlas use Persian.