UAE Foreign Minister urges Iran to end stand-off
The UAE Foreign Minister has warned the dispute with Iran over three Gulf islands could have "dangerous consequences".
HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the stand-off with Iran over the sovereignty of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa was a sign of the country’s internal problems boiling over into international affairs, according to a report by national news agency WAM.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked widespread international criticism with a visit to Abu Mousa last week.
Speaking at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Sheikh Abdullah said Iranian occupation of the three UAE Islands could affect international security as they are located in the Strait of Hormuz, through which a vast amount of the world's oil passes.
"I call upon Iran to listen to voice of reason and put an end to the stand-off whose repercussions could not be contained by either the UAE or Iran in future", he was quoted by WAM as saying.
He added: "We in the UAE are serious about settling the dispute about the UAE Islands occupied by Iran. But due to the internal Iranian issues - among others the drop of Iranian currency and economy and avoiding tackling of the European and world stance - Iran seems resolved to export its concerns to a marginal issue.
“It is with regret that a Muslim neighbour with civilisation and traditions behaves in such a manner. It is supposed to behave rationally and not to project its internal concerns abroad. In this case consequences can be dangerous."
Tehran took control of the islands in 1971 after British forces left. Ahmadinejad’s visit last week was the first trip by a head of state since Tehran took possession. The UAE declared the visit a "flagrant violation" of its sovereignty.