Iran warned it may cut UAE ties over its claim to the three Persian Gulf islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb.
“If the baseless anti-Iranian claims reach a point where national interests lie in lessening or cutting political relations, this step will be taken with consultation and based on expert analysis,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast. “The Islamic Republic of Iran stands firm in defense of its territorial integrity,” he added. (IRNA, 9 October)
The three islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb sit near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The British transferred the sovereignty over the islands to Iran in 1971. In return, the Shah’s government recognized the independence of Bahrain, which until then was regarded by Iran as an Iranian province. The UAE, which came into being after the agreement with the British, claims sovereignty over the islands.
Abu Musa, the largest of the islands, sits off the coast of UAE’s emirate of Sharjah. The UAE has opposed Iran’s “occupation” of the three islands.
“We hope the Iranian government will deal with this sensitive and important issue (the three islands) in a positive and just manner,” said UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan during his speech at U.N. General Assembly in September. He added that the “occupation of the three islands were against international law.” (Reuters)