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Iran writes to UN over Gulf islands

The three disputed Gulf islands are 'an inseparable part of Iranian soil,' insists Iran in a letter to the UN

AFP, Friday 20 Apr 2012
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during the commemorating National Army Day, Tehran, Iran,Tuesday, April 17, 2012. (Photo: AP)
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Iran has written to the United Nations reasserting its claim to sovereignty over three Gulf islands in the face of renewed counterclaims by the United Arab Emirates, state media reported Friday.

Iran "decisively rejects claims made by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and reiterates that Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb are an inseparable part of Iranian soil," the official IRNA news agency and the state television website quoted the letter as saying.

A visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on April 11 to Abu Musa -- the only one of the islands which is inhabited -- sparked a storm of protest from both the UAE and its Gulf Arab allies.

On April 17, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council called the visit "a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands."

But Iran's letter insisted: "The recent visit to the island of Abu Musa by the president of the Islamic republic is based on right of sovereignty and national integrity."

It said that Iran was ready to have "constructive talks" with the UAE over any "misunderstanding" emanating from "the implementation of documents exchanged in 1971."

Iran took control of the islands in 1971, when Britain granted independence to its Gulf protectorates and withdrew its forces.

Abu Musa was placed under joint administration in a deal with Sharjah, now part of the UAE.

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