Iran Says Sovereignty over 3 Persian Gulf Islands Eternal
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said once again that the issue of Iran’s sovereignty over the three Persian Gulf islands of the Abu Moussa, the Greater and Lesser Tunbs is eternal and non-negotiable.
She made the comments in reaction to different media interpretations of earlier remarks by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf, saying his remarks had been misinterpreted.
“Mr. Zarif has recently visited a number of Persian Gulf states, namely Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which marked the beginning of a new round of Iran’s cooperation with regional countries,” she told an Iranian radio station on Tuesday.
“Since Iran is a major and influential country in the region, we believe we should act as a standard bearer of security in the region. To this end, formation of regional cooperation is of utmost importance for us,” added Afkham.
She said that the foreign minister held constructive talks with top Emirati officials during his recent visit to that country.
“They discussed some trivial misunderstandings that had emerged between the two countries, and that ended those misapprehensions,” she said.
She stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran believes holding bilateral talks with the UAE government is the best way to resolve any misunderstanding about the three islands, adding, “We have always emphasized that the issue of sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran over the Lesser Tunb, the Greater Tunb, and Abu Moussa cannot be the subject of Iran-UAE negotiations.”
Afkham added that Iran always considers these three islands as inseparable parts of its territory, adding, “Any type of news fabrication on Iran-UAE negotiations on the sovereignty of those three islands is absolutely baseless, and sheer lies, and we categorically deny them.”
Some media outlets had quoted Iran's foreign minister as saying during a press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah earlier this month that Tehran was ready to talk about Abu Musa, one of the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf, over which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made baseless claims.
Zarif himself had reacted to the comments, saying, “I exactly expressed Iran’s normal position on the issue of Abu Musa Island that we have been always ready to talk to UAE to remove any misunderstanding about the Islands.”
Also last week, Iran's foreign ministry spokeswoman dismissed the media reports, and said, “According to the available record, a reporter asked about the Iranian islands, and our country’s foreign minister replied: ‘the misunderstanding about Abu Musa could be addressed through dialogue’.”
Iranian officials have repeatedly emphasized that the three islands of Abu Musa, the Greater and Lesser Tunbs in the Persian Gulf are an integral part of the country.
The strategically located islands are close to the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil chokepoint.
The three islands have historically 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. However, the United Arab Emirates has repeatedly laid claim to the islands.
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.
Iran recognizes that Arabs ruled the islands for centuries, but all historical documents show that they did so from the Iranian port city of Lengheh and therefore as Iranian subjects.