TEHRAN, Oct. 18 (Press Shia Agency) – Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) dispute over the three islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and the Lesser Tunb in the Persian Gulf is not a new story.
So far, Tehran has frequently announced that these islands are an inseparable part of the Iranian land and repetition of unfounded allegations over the territories would not change “historical facts”, reiterating that Arab officials cannot change history by their meddlesome remarks and media stunts.
Lambasting Arab League Statement
More recently, the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi Iran strongly rejected a statement issued by the Ministerial Council of the Arab League about three Iranian islands, warning that such injudicious approaches would intensify divisions in the Middle East resulted in more gaps among regional countries and a delay in purposeful regional collaborations.
Considering it as a blatant example of interference in its internal affairs, Tehran believes that the statement is originated from the Arab League’s political motives and its malfunction to understand historical realities.
Touching upon the current regional sensitive situation, Iran has repeatedly announced that its principled policy regarding the Persian Gulf littoral states is the observance of good neighborliness, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries as well as heeding historical and legal realities.
Last week, the Arab League’s Ministerial Council issued a statement and claimed that the three islands of the Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa belong to UAE at the end of its 146th session in the Egyptian capital of Cairo and voiced their support for the UAE’s measures to regain its sovereignty over the islands.
A look at history indicates that the sovereignty of Iran over these islands have been recorded in many books, historical documents, almanacs, maritime journals, geographical maps, official documents, administrative reports, the officials notes of the British authorities in India and so on.
Home to many small islands, the Persian Gulf is one of the geographical regions that has been interwoven with the millennia-old history and civilization of Iran. It has been years that some attempts to change the name of the gulf have taken place.
Geographically the biggest island in the Persian Gulf is Qeshm Island, located in the Strait of Hormuz. Other significant islands include Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Kish administered by Iran.
In 1903, the three islands of which were historically owned by Iran, temporarily fell to British control and then were returned to Iran based on an agreement in 1971 before the UAE came to existence.
In 550 BC, the Achaemenid Empire established the first Persian Empire in Pars in the southwestern region of the Iranian plateau. Consequently in the Greek sources, the body of water that bordered this province came to be known as the Persian Gulf.
Considering the historical background of the name Persian Gulf, Sir Arnold Wilson mentions in a book, published in 1928 that: “No water channel has been so significant as Persian Gulf to the geologists, archaeologists, geographers, merchants, politicians, excursionists, and scholars whether in past or in present. This water channel which separates the Iran Plateau from the Arabian Plate, has enjoyed an Iranian identity since at least 2200 years ago”.
Importance of Three Islands
Located in a strategic zone near the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, controlling these islands would enable one to dominate the sea-lanes entering and exiting the Persian Gulf, and hence it is understandable why Abu Dhabi are repeating its imaginary claim time after time.
Pointing to the current regional crisis, Arab League should conduct wisely instead of fanning the flames of regional disagreement between Iran and UAE over the disputed islands.