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Google Video Raises Iran’s Ire

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Forget the much-hyped competition between Google and its corporate rivals. Microsoft and Yahoo may have deep pockets, but the search engine giant’s newest enemy may have nukes. The Iranian government has taken issue with a film on Google Video that apparently calls the nation’s borders into question.

“In a move tailor-made to hurt Iranians, the Azari provincial capital, Tabriz, was located in southern Azerbaijan, currently in the territory of Iran’ by Google,” the Iran Daily reported. “In fact, Tabriz and Azerbaijan belonged to Iran for more than 6,000 years.”

One fact escaped both the Iran Daily and the Iranian government, though: individual users, not the corporation, are responsible for the clips posted on Google Video. Danny Sullivan noted that Google Earth, which the company does actively manage, identifies Tabriz as an Iranian city.

The disputed video is available here, and the description of Tabriz still calls it a city “currently in the territory of Iran,” but that hasn’t stopped the Tehran-based Islamic Republic News Agency from declaring victory in the matter. In an article titled “Iranian Outrage Rectified Google Error,” readers are told that “a blizzard of protest by Iranians compelled the US-based search engine Google to amend its provocative mistake.”

The whole incident was not without precedent: The Guardian’s Robert Tait drew a comparison to “a controversy two years ago when National Geographic magazine was swamped by protests after labeling the sea between southern Iran and neighbouring Arab states as the Arabian not the Persian Gulf.” In that instance, “the magazine was banned in Iran and its reporters were barred from the country.”

Google will surely be crushed if its employees are prevented from visiting this (in the words of The Register’s Lester Haines) “fun-loving Islamic republic.”


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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

Google Video Raises Iran’s Ire
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