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Iran Deputies Scold Hamas Over 'Arabian Gulf' Usage

Iranian support for Hamas only goes so far. Two members of the Iranian parliament have criticized Hamas leader Khalid Mish'al for using the term "Arabian Gulf" to refer to the Persian Gulf during a Quds Day speech in Damascus last month, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Conservative parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi and reformist deputy Ghodratollah Alikhani suggested in an interview with the Iranian news agency Khaneh-Ye Mellat (House of the People) that Mish'al was abusing his relationship with Tehran.

Iran -- a major financial supporter of Hamas -- is believed to provide the Islamic fundamentalist party with millions of dollars each year.

Referring to Mish'al and other Hamas leaders, Alikhani said that "some [Palestinian] officials want to have [Iranian money]" and also promote good relations with Arabic countries.

He suggested that Mish'al's behavior is similar to that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whose "double talk" constantly "seeks to take advantage of Iran."

Echoing Alikhani's complaint about using "fake terms" in relation to the gulf, Boroujerdi called the term "Arabian Gulf" a "misnomer."

In February, protests erupted in Iran and its diaspora communities after "Arabian Gulf" appeared on a Google Earth map. Google has since removed a reference to the name on its map.

The United Nations has used the term "Persian Gulf" on two official documents, two Security Council resolutions, and on three official maps.

-- Mosaddegh Katouzian

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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