Iran reacts to Russia's Ukraine invasion

July 13, 2023: On Wednesday, Tehran summoned Russia’s ambassador over a Moscow-endorsed statement on three Gulf islands denied by Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

The three isles of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb are claimed by both Tehran and the UAE but have been held by Iran since 1971, during the UAE’s formation, after gaining freedom from Britain.

The UAE renewed demands for the three islands, with UAE state’s Minister International Cooperation Reem al-Hashimy telling the U.N. General Assembly in September previous year that “despite the UAE’s sincere calls to peacefully solving this conflict over the previous five decades, we emphasize here that Iran has not responded. We will never relent in voicing our claim to these islands through direct negotiations or the International Court of Justice, as is our legitimate right.”

The UAE joins fellow economic Middle East heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Following a ministerial meeting in Moscow, Russia and the GCC cast a joint statement that urged a diplomatic solution to the territorial dispute. 

“The ministers affirmed their support for all peaceful efforts, including the initiative of the United Arab Emirates and its endeavors to reach a peaceful solution to the issue of the islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa, via bilateral negotiations or the International Court of Justice, following the rules of international law and the United Nations Charter, to resolve this issue is following international legitimacy,” it said, according to the state-owned Saudi Press Agency.

Iran recognized the compulsory jurisdiction of the U.N.’s International Court of Justice late last month.

Tehran’s Ministry of foreign affairs rejected the statement on Tuesday.

“These islands belong to Iran forever, and issuing such statements contradicts the friendly relations between Iran and its neighbors,” said Nasser Kanaani, spokesperson for Iran’s Ministry of foreign affairs.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran emphasizes the continuation of the policy of good neighborliness and mutual respect and considers the development and stability of the region to be the collective responsibility of the countries of the region.”

According to the state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency, Iranian officials reached on Russia to correct its position on the territorial row.

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