Iran Says Disputed Islands ‘Integral Parts of Iranian Territory’
Iran on Monday rejected calls by the Gulf states to withdraw from three Emirati islands it occupied in 1971, saying they are “integral parts of the Iranian territory.”
Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) renewed their support to Abu Dhabi in its row with Tehran, and called on Tehran in their final communiqué to “withdraw from Abu Mussa, the Greater and Lesser Tunbs islands.
But Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, rejected the GCC calls, saying that the dispute could only be solved through direct dialogue between Iran and the UAE, said the official Iranian News Agency (IRNA).
Asefi, however, welcomed the steps taken to strengthen relations between Iran and the members of the GCC.
He said the GCC should, in line with Iran's foreign policy principles--which calls for stability and security of the Arabian Gulf—“avoid doing things such as was done in the past with consequential problems to the peoples and governments of the region.”
He said that resolving the present misunderstanding regarding the 1971-Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Iran and UAE would be possible only by direct negotiations between the two countries.
Relations between Iran and the UAE took a positive turn when a high-ranking Emirati delegation visited Iran in August and discussed the row with Iranian President Mohammed Khatami and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi – Albawaba.com
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