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Russia stands with UAE on Iran’s Persian Gulf islands

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Tehran has asserted its sovereignty over three Persian Gulf islands after Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) again disputed Iran’s rights.

In a joint Russia-GCC statement issued at the sixth joint ministerial meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Russian Federation’s strategic dialogue in Moscow on Monday, ministers reiterated their commitment to the United Arab Emirates, which also claims sovereignty. Support over the island.

The statement called for “a resolution of this matter through bilateral negotiations or the International Court of Justice, in accordance with the rules of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, consistent with international legality”.

However, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani on Tuesday denied the content of the declaration about the three islands, saying they “belong to Iran forever and such declarations are not in line with Iran’s friendly relations with its neighbours.” with neighboring UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The first meeting of the Russia-GCC strategic dialogue was held in the Saudi capital in 2017, but Moscow’s leaning toward Arab states has grown in recent years, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, an allegiance to the UAE over the disputed islands would be a blow to Tehran, which has forged an increasingly tight alliance with Moscow since the Ukraine war.

Omani Foreign Minister Saeed Badr bin Hamad bin Hamad Al Busaydi presents Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council in Moscow on July 10, 2023 (GCC) Meeting of the foreign ministers of the member states and the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The three islands of the Persian Gulf have historically been part of Iran, as can be confirmed by historical and geographical documents. However, the United Arab Emirates has repeatedly claimed the islands, describing the situation as “an ongoing occupation by the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

The three islands fell under British control in 1921, but on November 30, 1971, the day after British troops left the area and two days before the UAE became a formal federation, Mohammad Reza The Shah (Mohammad Reza Shah) sent the Iranian navy to protect the three islands. Iranian troops remain on the islands, and only Abu Musa has a civilian population of fewer than 2,000.

Gulf Cooperation Council – a regional organization of six countries including Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia Repeatedly expressed support for the “rights of the state” UAE restores sovereignty over its three islands As well as the territorial sea, airspace, continental shelf and economic zone of the three islands, as they are an integral part of the United Arab Emirates. “

The Iranian flag was raised on one of three islands in the Persian Gulf occupied by the Imperial Navy in 1971

The GCC urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to respond to efforts by the UAE and the international community to resolve the issue through peaceful means or resort to the International Court of Justice, and demanded that “Iran abide by the fundamental pillars of promoting good-neighborly relations, mutual respect, and non-interference in internal affairs.” “

In a statement issued at the end of the Moscow summit, the Russian and GCC ministers also welcomed an agreement between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic on efforts and mediation by Oman, Iraq and China. They also expressed hope that the agreement would be a positive step towards resolving differences through dialogue and diplomacy and ending all regional disputes.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who has hosted Arab counterparts from the Persian Gulf, also welcomed the latest rapprochement, saying “it creates a more positive atmosphere in the region”.

Although the GCC countries have claimed to support the international community’s view of the war, they have maintained friendly relations with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

“Our position on the Russia-Ukraine crisis is based on the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” Budewi said in a speech at Monday’s conference.

During a visit to Moscow in March, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said Riyadh was ready to mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Saudi Arabia has also strengthened ties with Kiev, providing substantial humanitarian aid and mediating a prisoner exchange between Russia, the United States and Ukraine.

according to a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Analysis Think tanks, and many Arab media platforms have adopted a narrative that justifies the Russian invasion and refers to Russia’s right to defend its national security. It paints a narrative in which Ukraine is a Western puppet launching hostilities and threatening Russia.

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