Middle East

Iran, UAE trade barbs over contested islands

Iran and UAE claim sovereignty over three strategic Persian Gulf islands

Syed Zafar Mehdi   | 28.09.2021
Iran, UAE trade barbs over contested islands

TEHRAN, Iran

The longstanding dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over three contested islands has been rekindled with both sides trading barbs at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

In response to remarks made by UAE Deputy Foreign Minister Khalifa Shaheen al-Marar, Iran's mission at the UN released a statement on Tuesday, calling the disputed islands "inseparable parts" of the Iranian territory.

The Iranian mission dismissed the Emirati claims over the three Persian Gulf islands — Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb — as "baseless".

“I would like to respond to the UAE representative’s baseless claims against the territorial integrity of my country regarding the Iranian islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb,” the statement said.

In his speech on Monday, Al-Marar called on Iran to end its “occupation” of the three strategic islands located near the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.

"The UAE will never cease its demand for its legitimate sovereignty over the islands occupied by Iran since 1971, in flagrant violation of international law and the United Nations Charter," he said in the speech.

He called on Iran to "agree to resolve this dispute peacefully through direct negotiations", while warning of taking the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In response, Iran said it has always "declared its readiness" for a bilateral dialogue with the UAE to address any "misunderstandings" over the contested Islands.

“The Islamic Republic reiterates its fixed and principled position that it does not recognize the existence of such a dispute between Iran and the UAE," the statement added.

The protracted dispute between the two countries predates the 1979 Iranian Revolution, after the withdrawal of British forces from the Gulf and UAE's independence from Britain in 1971.

The three disputed islands have since been a main bone of contention between the two neighbors and both have often sparred in international forums over them.

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