May 4, 2009

Persian Gulf name ends Islamic games

Iranian officials said this year's Islamic Solidarity Games were canceled over demands from Arab countries for the Persian Gulf not to be inscribed on medals.

Officials said the games, which had been scheduled for October in Iran, were canceled in response to demands from Saudi Arabia and other nations for the Persian Gulf to be referred to as the Arabian Gulf or only the Gulf on medals and promotional materials for the event, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported Monday.

We must insist on our correct stance even if it leads to the cancellation of the games, said Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Organizers said only 28 nations agreed to take part in this year's games, compared to 55 countries at the 2005 games in Saudi Arabia.

Press TV, Iran's state-run English language satellite network, said negotiations were under way to attempt to salvage the games.