Iran-UAE Tensions Renewed

Tensions flare after the United Arab Emirates compares Iran's occupation of Persian Gulf islands with Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria.

Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 17:33

Satellite image of Persian Gulf
Satellite image of Persian Gulf
Israel news photo: NASA

Tensions have been renewed between Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a Middle East media watchdog.

The friction came after UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan compared Iran's occupation of three disputed islands in the Persian Gulf with Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria.

In response, Tehran's Foreign Ministry summoned the UAE charges d'affaires to a disciplinary meeting, various news media reported.

The three islands, Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, are located in the Strait of Hormuz and were invaded by Iran in 1971. Iran has occupied them ever since, and the issue remains a point of contention between the two countries.

The islands have “always belonged and always will belong to Iran,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the state-run IRNA news agency, adding that the UAE statement was “unfortunate and baseless.”

Iranian media also joined in with criticism of their own; two in particular punctuated their criticism of the UAE with comparisons to Israel.

Sheikhs Accused of Blocking Gaza Help
Two editorials were published on the conservative website Asr-e Iran, claiming that Arab sheikhs in the UAE had tried to find ways to prevent assistance from reaching Gaza residents during Israel's counter terrorist Operation Cast Lead at the start of 2009.

Conservative daily Keyhan also slammed the UAE, saying the foreign minister is focusing on Iran instead of condemning the new schemes of Israel, which it claimed “plans to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians” from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Arab countries in the region are concerned over Iran's recent various “impressive achievements,” the daily paper opined, including its military power. It added, however, that it was more likely that the UAE was really concerned about the possibility of an internal uprising, than any threat Iran might pose.