Iran’s Central News Agency reported today that in a letter to the head of the Security Council, Iran has said: “The three Islands of Abu Musa, the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs have been an inseparable part of Iranian territory, and the president’s latest trip to Abu Musa is based on Iran’s right to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The letter is reportedly in response to a recent letter of protest sent to the Security Council by Saudi Arabia and UAE representatives, criticizing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Abu Musa last week.
The UAE claims the three Iranian islands should become part of UAE territory, and the member states of the Arab League have supported these claims. Therefore, they are challenging Ahmadinejad’s trip to Abu Musa and described it as “provocative.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry had already issued a statement saying there can be no discussion about the ownership of the three islands, and the Iranian military is prepared to defend Iran’s right to them if the need arises.
On the other hand, the Associated Press has reported that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have written a letter to the UN Security Council to criticize Ahmadinejad’s trip to Abu Musa and, according to this report, they have used the term “Arabian Gulf.”
Iran’s letter to the Security Council reportedly says: “Any use of fabricated names for the waters in the region, including the false name used by the Saudi Arabian representative, is baseless, unacceptable and lacks legal and political validity.”
The three islands were returned to Iran after 80 years of British occupation in 1971. Abu Musa is the only one that is inhabited. Some of the residents of Abu Musa have links to Arab Sharjah, which is now part of the UAE.
Since 1992, the UAE has on several occasions tried to take the issue of the ownership of the islands to international courts, but Iran has maintained that its claim of ownership is not up for discussion, adding that the UAE dispute may be resolved through talks.