Iran has slammed popular web search engine Google, charging it with distorting "historical facts" by referring to the 'Persian Gulf' as 'Arabic Gulf'.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini criticised Google Earth over the issue, terming its action a "plot".
"Raising such issues about a historically-documented and undeniable term is illegal," he said. The official characterised Google's move as a "political ambition" while commending Iranians living in the country and overseas for sending protest e-mails to the web portal, Iranian media reports said.
The controversy evoked strong reactions across Iran with the Islamic Iran Participation Party saying that it raises suspicions that Google Earth managers and experts are "knowingly or unknowingly" following the lead of external powers aiming to provoke conflict in the region, the reports said.
The party has described the action as "insulting the intelligence of the international community."