TEHRAN: Tehran on Monday warned Arab states in the Gulf that things could become “very complicated” if they do not act cautiously over a simmering island dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi made the declaration to Iran’s ISNA news agency on the eve of talks in Doha between the Gulf Cooperation Council states over the tiny island of Abu Musa in the Gulf between Iran and the UAE and claimed by both.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad infuriated the UAE by visiting Abu Musa last Wednesday and giving a speech proclaiming historical records proved “the Persian Gulf is Persian,” with state media calling his trip a purely “domestic issue.”
The UAE recalled its ambassador to Tehran and lodged a protest to the United Nations over the visit, stressing that the decades-old territorial dispute should be resolved through talks or at the International Court of Justice.
But 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.”
He added: “We hope that the other sides act with patience, perseverance, insight and prudence regarding the misunderstandings that could arise, or else issues will become very complicated.”