UAE official says Iran’s stance over disputed islands is ‘illogical’

The ownership of the three islands has been the subject of a longstanding diplomatic dispute between the two countries

A senior UAE official has called Iran’s stance over three disputed islands in the Arabian Gulf is “illogical” saying its occupation of the area is “illegal”.

Taking to Twitter, the UAE’s minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash claimed Tehran’s occupation of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa went against international law.

“There are many international disputes over disputed islands, which are dealt with by the countries within the framework of the UAE’s peaceful, legal and rational approach,” he said.

However, the Iranian position is “illogical because its basis of occupation by force… is not supported by legal or historical support”, he wrote.

He stressed that Iran has rejected the peaceful calls of the UAE to resolve the issue.

“Tehran is embarrassing itself in every international forum because its occupation remains illegal, illegitimate and unrecognised, and the UAE has since the first day called for the peaceful resolution of the issue through dialogue and arbitration,” he added.

The ownership of the three islands, which sit near important shipping lanes, has been the subject of a longstanding diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

They were seized in 1971 by the Shah of Iran, just days before the formation of the UAE, having previously been occupied by the British Empire and placed under the administration of the emirate of Sharjah in 1921.

In the past Portugal and various Iranian rulers have also occupied them.

Iran has claimed the islands were returned to it based on an agreement signed before the formation of the UAE and has repeatedly declared its ownership is non-negotiable.