Wednesday, December 29, 2004

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ISSUES WRITTEN APOLOGY TO IRAN

Russian Information Agency Novosti: "2004-12-29 15:58 * IRAN * GULF * MAGAZINE * FOREIGN MINISTRY *
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ISSUES WRITTEN APOLOGY TO IRAN


TEHRAN, December 29 (RIA Novosti's Nikolai Terekhov) - Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi has said that the National Geographic magazine offered a written apology to Iran and expressed its readiness to correct the mistake made in one of its issues.

The press service of the Iranian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that "following talks held in New York with representatives of the American magazine a letter was sent to the IRI, in which the head of the publication extended an apology and said he was ready to correct and compensate for the mistake made."

An atlas recently published by the magazine, along with the name "Persian Gulf", carried the name "Arab Gulf" (this is how the Persian Gulf is called in Arabic), changed the names of Iranian islands in the Gulf - Kish and Lavan - and cited claims by the United Arab Emirates to three islands Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, forcibly annexed by Iran in the past and now the subject of a territorial dispute between the Islamic Republic and the UAE.

Iran officially expressed a sharp protest over this, accusing the publishers of an attempt to deliberately change the historical and geographic realities.

The Iranian diplomat reported Iran's intention to continue taking political and legal measures to have the damage done to the Islamic Republic compensated.

The new issue of the magazine is expected to carry a correction. But, in the view of Iranians, the ambiguous approach to the given problem is not eliminated in general.

In October this year, Iran's Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance described the National Geographic as "non-professional" and banned its distribution throughout Iran, as well as the issue of entry visas to the correspondents and representatives of this publication."

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