Gulf states lash out at Iran 'interference'

AFP , Tuesday 25 Dec 2012

GCC criticized Iran saying it must immediately and completely stop its 'interference' in their internal affairs

Leaders of the Gulf Arab monarchies lashed out at Iran as they concluded a two-day Manama summit Tuesday, saying Tehran must immediately and completely stop its "interference" in their internal affairs.

The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said in a statement that Tehran's actions were threatening regional security and stability.

The GCC said it "rejects and denounces" Iran's "continued interference" in their internal affairs and Tehran must "immediately and completely stop these actions and policies that increase regional tension and threaten security and stability".

The six states -- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates -- also condemned Iran's "continued occupation of the three Emirati islands" of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which lie in the strategic Strait of Hormuz entrance to the Gulf.

Tehran seized the islands in 1971, when colonial-era Britain withdrew from that part of the Gulf. It maintains the islands are a historic part of its territory and stations military forces on the largest of them.

The UAE claims ownership of the islands under an agreement signed with Britain, and has support from other Gulf Arab states and its ally the United States.

The GCC also took the opportunity to urge Tehran to cooperate with the UN atomic agency over its controversial nuclear programme, and to ensure the safety of its Bushehr atomic power plant on the Gulf to avoid any nuclear accident.

The GCC also voiced support to its member Bahrain where the Sunni minority regime has been grappling with a Shiite-led uprising since last year.

The Gulf states accuse Shiite-dominated Iran of covertly supporting the opposition in Bahrain.

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