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Iran set to limit ties with UAE

3 May 2010 7:09

With Tehran still reeling from recent Emirati claims on three Persian Gulf islands, Iranian lawmakers move to reduce ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Last week, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan raised hackles in Tehran when he likened Iran’s ownership of the three Persian Gulf islands to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory.

He outraged Iranian officials even further when he repeated the claims on Sunday and urged Tehran to, once and for all, end the “occupation” of the three islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.

In the wake of these controversial remarks, the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) has instituted measures to lower the level of relations between Iran and the tiny Arab sheikhdom.

Zohreh Elahian, a member of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Monday that the country’s “quick and severe” response to Sheikh Abdullah is probably not enough to teach UAE officials a lesson.

“Tehran’s reaction to the outrageous claims was appropriate and well-suited, but it does not change the fact that some serious…rethinking needs to be done…to prevent such provocative behavior [recurring] in the future,” she continued.

Elahian said the Parliament will convene later this week to hand down a final decision on limiting ties with the UAE.

“Iran is the UAE’s number one trade partner in the region and persistence on baseless claims by Emirati officials will come at their own expense,” she noted.

The three Persian Gulf islands in question have long been owned by Iran, proof of which can be found and corroborated independently of each other in countless historical, legal and geographical documents in Tehran and other parts of the world.

The islands temporarily fell under British control in the 1800s, but were nevertheless returned to Iran on November 30th 1971 through legal procedures long before the statehood of the United Arab Emirates was declared and the Al-Nahyan clan assumed leadership.

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