Manama // Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, said yesterday his country's dispute with the UAE over the three islands of Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa should be resolved through mutual dialogue. Mr Larijani accused western powers of trying to use the dispute as a reason to raise tensions in the region to justify its military presence.
"They are creating problems and fear by creating an imaginary enemy so they could retake the oil revenues through arms sales," he said during a press conference in Manama last night. "The current financial crisis is more of a reason for the US to push ahead with this policy because they want the countries of the region to be divided and dependent on it." Mr Larijani said Iran and the UAE have had intensive dialogue in the past and that there is no real conflict between the two. The island dispute can be resolved, he said.
"This is not the only dispute in the region that the US and the West have tried to flare up. They have tried to create a conflict between Sunnis and Shiites despite the fact that there is no conflict between the two," he said. He would not comment on a suggestion put forward by the UAE and other Gulf countries to have the issue of the three islands arbitrated by the International Judicial Court. Mr Larijani also said Iran welcomes a dialogue with its Arab neighbours to resolve any outstanding issues and build up co-operation.
He reiterated his country's position that Gulf countries not allow US and western military bases to be established on their soil, saying US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a devastating effect on the region. Mr Larijani denied that his country played any role in the recent Iraqi cabinet decision to demand changes in a security pact with the United States and said the Iraqi people reject it because it would take away their sovereignty as a nation.