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Mon 14 Mar 2011 10:50 AM

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Iran threatens legal action over UAE offshore islands

Islamic state may be capitalising on row to press its claim in ongoing territorial dispute, says analyst

Iran threatens legal action over UAE offshore islands
The World, Nakheel
Iran threatens legal action over UAE offshore islands
Aerial view of the Palm Jebel Ali, one of a series of islands off the coast of the UAE
Iran threatens legal action over UAE offshore islands
An aerial view shows a cluster of man-made islands known as The World

Iran is mulling legal action to block the UAE from constructing more manmade islands along its coastline, a senior government aide has said.

Senior military advisor Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi said offshore islands posed a threat to the security and ecology of the region and warned fresh construction could damage diplomatic relations between Iran and the UAE.

“Any decision about making major changes in the shape of the south coasts in order to achieve political, economic and security objectives can have negative repercussions on the ecosystem and political and economic issues,” he told news agency IRNA.

The state-run news agency said Iran’s Parliament had held a series on meetings to discuss the issue.

The row is seen as the latest twist in a long-running territorial dispute between the two countries over the ownership of a trio of islands in the Gulf.

The islands - Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa – are the subject of a sovereignty row, with both the UAE and Iran claiming ownership of the land.

Military analyst Dr Theodore Karasik said Iran was capitalising on the offshore islands and the threat of legal action, in a bid to press its territorial claims.

“It’s an Iranian tactic while everyone else is distracted,” Dr Karasik, director of Research and Development at INEGMA, told Arabian Business.

“The timing is interesting given the nature of the UAE’s relationship with Iran and the ongoing pressures in the region,” he said. “The issue of going after manmade islands is a new pressure tactic on the UAE as part of this.”

The UAE said last week, ahead of a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, that it would resolve the sovereignty issue peacefully.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the statement was a “positive step”.

Relations between the two countries have waned in the wake of fresh United Nations sanctions, imposed last year, aimed at forcing Iran to curtail its nuclear programme. Dubai’s Iranian Business Council in December predicted trade between the UAE and Iran would decline by as much as 50 percent in 2010 to $6bn.

Two years ago, the UAE was Iran’s largest trading partner.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

expert 9 years ago

UAE's ambitions to violate sovereignty of Iran, will only result in destabilizing UAE.

Ala 9 years ago

Here is iran bullying as usual.

Well, iran, bullying will not get you far, but it will make people know you better and hate you more.
Well done.

Diala 9 years ago

Current Iran is world biggest crazy regime in history.

It is like a fat kid who flunked many years bullying young kids in school.

Tony 9 years ago

How can those 3 islands belong to UAE, when they always belonged to Iran? There wasnt even a UAE 40 years ago!

Iran was promised those 3 islands if it would let go of Bahrain.

The Truth 9 years ago

The New Age of Iran has begun, in a few years time, the rest of Sunni ruled countries will fall to Iran's feet. Iran has become the super power of Middle east.
Iran will rule/influence the entire middle east region, will give jobs to Arab youth and will correct the demography imbalance.

Gulf national 9 years ago

If you dont know what your talking about, you should be quiet, Iran is the face of conflict, ignites conflict with Sunni's and Shiite. Look how it treats its own people and the tyranny that occurs everyday in Iran. Iran will never rule the gulf.

Brian 9 years ago

Unfortunately the two super powers of the Middle East Iraq and Egypt are beset with debilitating problems of their own which has made Iran more arrogant vicious and unpredictable. Iran is fomenting trouble and spewing its lethal venom all over the region from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, to Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, etc. Regrettably the Arabian Gulf with its tiny population and armies are no match for Iran's huge population and military power.

Red Snappa 9 years ago

All this xenophobic online squabbling and in some cases ranting does not remove the fact, the security scenario seen from an outside perspective is deteriorating rapidly. A condition that becomes a car-crash for commercial confidence in the region.

Any plans that companies had will be put on the back burner. The combination of the Japanese catastrophe that is decimating stock markets and and even a whiff of an upfront confrontation between the GCC and Iran will set the economy back many months and sabotage recovery in any other industry other than energy perhaps. The bourses will continue their downward spiral, assets like property continue to fall in value, a flight of capital is not far away and investment will focus on Japan where the only way is up.

Expatriates advised to leave Yemen and now Bahrain, there is no real demonstration of an active route map to reform and part of the region has become a sectarian powder keg. That is the dilemma we face whatever your allegiance.

Daniel 9 years ago

Here we go again with the Iran bashing. Persia was once the superpower of the world and guess what folks...history repeats itself. It begins with dominance over the Persian Gulf, strategic alliances with growing powers (India, Brazil, China) and an eventual acceptance of the new kid on the block. But the scared Arabs and others can continue trying to label the Iranians as the bully of the middle east.

kuwaiti gulf national 9 years ago

Thats the problem with Iran and thats a good thing for us arabs. The irani government is trying to have an influence in Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi. They are trying to rule the Arabs but forgot about their People.
The green movement in Iran is stronger then ever, the government doesnt offer them freedom or stability and they are educated and intellectual people unlike you !

Right now Ali khamani has a choice to start a war with the GCC in order to keep his dictatorship and i think he will do that.
Once a war starts between the Persians and the Arabs it will be turned into jihad by both sides. This war will save the rulers from both sides to keeping their rulership.

The iranians will stop protesting against ali khamani beacause of a greater risk which will be the war. The man is crazy and stupid by all means and the iranians deserve a better leader.