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Iran expels Greek steward over ‘Persian Gulf’ row

Argued with passengers over name of gulf

Iran on Sunday expelled a Greek steward working for a domestic airline after he argued with flight passengers over a "Persian Gulf" naming row, Fars news agency reported.

The steward working for Kish Airline had a "verbal argument" with passengers on a Tehran-Kish flight on Friday, during which he threatened to arrest them, Fars said, quoting a top police officer.

The incident occurred when passengers protested over the Gulf waterway being referred to as the Arabian Gulf on the plane's in-flight monitor. The protest turned into an argument with the steward.

"Due to his inappropriate and irresponsible behavior, the Greek steward of Kish Airline has been expelled," Gholam Reza Rezain, head of Iran's immigration police told Fars.

"He was summoned by the immigration police of Kish and his residency permit was cancelled."

The Islamic republic insists that the strategic body of water separating the oil-rich Arabian Peninsula from the Iranian plateau be referred to as the Persian Gulf.

According to Mehr, another Iranian news agency, Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani has said the entire "foreign crew of this flight must be prevented from continuing to work in Iran."

Some Iranian airlines lease planes with foreign crews.

Behbahani also warned foreign airlines of Arab nations against the "use of such a term while flying over Iranian airspace", Mehr said. "If you use this wrong term, you will be prevented from flying."

Mehr said Behbahani has asked Iran's civil aviation authority to "reprimand" Kish Airline officials.

Due to his inappropriate and irresponsible behavior, the Greek steward of Kish Airline has been expelled

Gholam Reza Rezain