The name of the Iraqi championship in the Persian Gulf angers Iran | News

Tehran summons Iraq’s ambassador and complains to FIFA about its use of the name of a waterway separating Iran from several Arab countries.

Tehran, Iran Iran summoned Iraq’s ambassador to protest its use of the name “Arabian Gulf Cup” for a regional football tournament in a long-running dispute over the name of the waterway.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabad Lahian said on Wednesday that Tehran had conveyed its dissatisfaction with the use of the name to the Iraqi envoy despite the “strategic, brotherly and deep relations” shared between them.

State media quoted him as saying, in an apparent reference to a social media post by Muhammad al-Sudani, that “Mr. al-Sudani, the Iraqi prime minister, corrected this issue in a post recently published on a virtual space.” Used by “Gulf Cup” to describe the tournament.

Iran and the Arab states of the region have been quarreling for decades over what should be called the main waterway separating them. Tehran insists on using the Persian Gulf. While this name is common in the English-speaking world, many Arab countries insist on the Persian Gulf instead.

The latest spat began last week as the southern port city of Basra hosted the opening ceremony of the tournament, which brought together Iraq’s Arab neighbors in the region – Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Yemen – for the latest edition of the soccer tournament.

Iraq is hosting the competition for only the second time, and for the first time since 1979. The two-week competition has been described as signaling the country’s emergence from political turmoil during which it was without a government for a year and has seen its continuation. protests. It is also an opportunity to strengthen relations with other Arab countries.

Al-Sudani reportedly described the tournament as the Arabian Gulf Cup at the opening ceremony, as did FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

Football’s world governing body has also used the Arabian Gulf Cup name in its social media posts as has Muqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shiite leader whose politics have been increasingly at odds with Tehran over the years.

While Iran has long opposed any attempt to use the Persian Gulf on the international stage, its use in neighboring Iraq, where it has close ties to the government, appears to have particularly angered it.

The Iranian Football Federation said it would formally protest to FIFA and decided to name the country’s annual football competition the Persian Gulf Cup. The word “Persian Gulf” was also placed in large letters on the seats of Azadi Stadium in Tehran during a cup match on Tuesday.

Sports have always been used to lobby for the favored names of the region’s countries in the Gulf region. Iran’s main football league competition is called the Persian Gulf Pro League while the UAE’s domestic competition was previously called the Arabian Gulf League.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani told reporters on Monday that Tehran protested the use of the “fake” name while a lawmaker called on Iraqi officials to apologize, something they refused to do.

The dispute erupted while the Iraqi prime minister, who came to power with the support of the factions backed by Tehran late last year after a year of political stalemate, was trying to balance Iraq’s relations between Iran and the Arab countries.

Al-Sudani made his first trip to Tehran as prime minister in late November, where he met Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi.

He also participated in a summit between Arab and Chinese leaders in Riyadh last month, as well as in the second session of the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership hosted by Jordan.

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