Iran threatens to sue Google over geography

Iran has threatened to sue Google after the search engine giant dropped the name of the Persian Gulf from its online map.

(CBS/AP) Iran is rarely shy about facing off against the West, whether the subject is its controversial nuclear program, threats to choke off Europe's oil supply or generally inflammatory rhetoric toward Israel.

The latest thorn in the Islamic Republic's side: geography.

Its foe: Google.

Iran threatened the Internet giant with a lawsuit after the search engine dropped the name of the Persian Gulf on Google Maps.

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that if Google does not restore the name of the Persian Gulf, it will face "serious damages."

Mehmanparast told the semiofficial Mehr news agency Thursday that Tehran has already warned Google of possible legal action.

Iranians are highly sensitive about the name of the body of water, which lies between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula and has historically and internationally been known as the Persian Gulf.

Some Arab states insist on calling it the Arabian Gulf. The issue has stirred up tensions between Iranians and Arabs.