Thursday, 08 February, 2018

UAE must know that Iran’s sovereignty over Persian Gulf islands “non-negotiable”

 By Vahid JafarianEditorial Board Member

The President of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa Bin Zayid Al-Nahyan has called on Friday for Iran to sit at the negotiating table over three disputed islands, or go for international arbitration.

The request comes as Iran has stated repeatedly that its sovereignty over the over the three Persian Gulf islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs is not negotiable, although it has called for bilateral talks with the UAE to clear up any misunderstandings.

Nevertheless, the UAE continues to question Iran’s sovereignty over the islands and urges Tehran to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague or engage in direct negotiations.

The United Arab Emirates has made baseless claims over the islands since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. In 1980, the UAE submitted its claim to the United Nations.

In response, Iran has voiced it readiness for bilateral talks with the UAE to remove misunderstandings, but it is clear that territorial integrity and sovereignty over the islands are non-negotiable

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad has said that “We are ready for talks with the UAE on the misunderstandings (on the implementation of the 1971 Memorandum of Understanding) on Abu Musa,”.

In April 2012, former Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said that although Iran wanted good relations with the UAE and was willing to hold discussions, “our rule over the islands is not negotiable, and Iran’s sovereignty over the islands is certain and on the record.”

In October 2012, Ramin Mehmanparast, the then Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, even went further and warned that Iran would consider downgrading ties with the UAE if it continued to make claims.

“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,” Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran stands firm in defense of its territorial integrity,” he said.

The three islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb sit near important oil shipping channels at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

According to historical documents, the three islands have been part of Iran, proof of which can be found and corroborated by countless historical, legal, and geographical documents in Iran and other parts of the world.

The islands fell under British control in 1921 but on November 30, 1971, a day after British forces left the region and just two days before the UAE was to become an official federation, Iran’s sovereignty over the islands was restored.

The settlement came after three years of talks between Tehran and London, which announced in 1968 that it was leaving the Persian Gulf.

Under an agreement between Iran and Britain, Iran’s Pahlavid king in 1969 dropped Iran’s claims on Bahrain, another island that has been historically part of Iran.

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