Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Sheik Abdulrahman said today the Persian Gulf states will not develop their relations with Iran before reaching a settlement on the three islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tumbs owned by Iran and claimed by UAE.
“Without settling this dispute either by international arbitration or direct negotiation with the UAE, the Gulf states will not enhance their co-operation with Iran,” said Sheik Abdulrahman (The Gulf Times, 16 December).
In 1971, the shah’s government, under pressure from the British, dropped Iran’s historic claim over Bahrain and in return the departing British forces handed over the three islands to Iran. At the time the move was seen as treason by the shah to disclaim Bahrain in lieu of three uninhibited islands. Now UAE is claiming the ownership of those three islands.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was harshly criticized in Tehran for attending a recent GCC summit held in Doha at the end of which the GCC states passed a resolution reiterating UAE’s ownership of the three islands. Today’s announcement by Sheik Abdulrahman adds to the importance and the urgency of the issue for the region’s peace and security.
Islamic Republic is already under heavy criticism for its handling of the Caspian Sea legal status. A 1921 treaty signed by Lenin’s government in Moscow and the Persian government in Tehran had divided the Caspian equally between the two countries. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Iran has been put under pressure from Russia to accept only 13% share of the Caspian based on the length of its coastline. The Iranians have reportedly agreed to a 20% equal share for the five Caspian states.
The opposition compares the government’s Caspian agreement to capitulations at Gulistan and Turkmenchay in 1800’s when Persia renounced its rule over the present-day Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and handed them to Tsarist Russia.
Handing over the three islands to UAE on top of an agreement to accept less than half for Caspian would fatally undermine the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic.