The name of that stretch of shallow water separating the south of Iran from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states has always been the Persian Gulf. This is not surprising since Iran has usually been the dominant regional power and indeed Bahrain and those Gulf states used to be a part of the Persian Empire. However in modern times some have started to use another name, anathema to all Iranians and friends of Iran – the Arabian Gulf. The dispute has rumbled on, but now Tehran has decided enough is enough and has announced draconian measures to protect the correct title: any airline using the unrepeatable name will not be allowed to use Iranian airspace. Whether this will work out in practice is another matter, but a point has been rather forcefully made.
This raising of the stakes shows how the present government are determined to show they can be trusted to protect nationalistic sentiment. All Iranian Christians believe the name must be Persian Gulf and so this form of nationalism presents them with no dilemma. It is when you have to prove you are a patriot by subscribing to a particular religion the real problems begin.