x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE takes Abu Musa dispute to UN

Letter of protest lodged at the United Nations in New York after Iran erected two marine offices on the disputed Abu Musa island.

Abu Musa, in the Strait of Hormuz, was seized by Iran from the UAE in 1971.
Abu Musa, in the Strait of Hormuz, was seized by Iran from the UAE in 1971.

ABU DHABI // The UAE has lodged a letter of protest at the United Nations over the recent erecting of two marine offices by Iran on the disputed Abu Musa island. The letter was delivered to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York yesterday by the Charge d'Affaires of the UAE mission to the UN Anwar Othman Al-Barout, according to the state news agency, WAM. It expresses the Government's "deep regret" over the Iranian action which it considers a "stark violation" of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1971 - the same year Abu Musa, together with the Greater and Lesser Tunbs islands, was seized by Iran. "Iran's illegitimate actions on the Abu Musa Island violate the provisions of the memorandum and are a bid by Iran to change the legal status on the Island," the letter said. "Although the memorandum does not give Iran sovereignty over the island or even parts of it, nor did it give Iran the right to take any security measures on it, Iran has been violating the provisions of the memorandum ever since 1980." The letter calls on Tehran to revoke any actions that violate the 1971 agreement. Iranian state television claimed on Aug 11 that the new buildings were a marine rescue centre and a registration office for ships and sailors. It had been nearly 10 years since Iran had carried out any significant construction work on Abu Musa. Foreign ministers from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) plan to discuss the Iranian occupation of the three islands in when they meet next week at their 108th ministerial session next Tuesday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Abdul Rahman al Attiya, the GCC secretary general, last week condemned Iran, telling Abu Dhabi TV that Tehran's failure to respond to the GCC's denunciation of construction activities on the island reflected an "absence of a constructive vision for neighbourly relations". Last Saturday Iran broke a two-week silence over the issue, dismissing Mr Attiya's statement as "rude literature... under the pressure of big powers". *WAM