By Ynet News
Tehran says it is mulling harsh move over Gulf islands dispute with United Arab Emirates
Iran’s Foreign Ministry warned on Tuesday it was considering cutting diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates because of a festering dispute over three Gulf islands claimed by both countries.
“If making such anti-Iranian claims reaches a level that national interests lie in reducing or severing political ties.”
“(Such a move) will be implemented after consultations with experts,” ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted by Iran’s parliamentary website as saying.
“The UAE maintaining these baseless claims will have a negative effect on bilateral relations,” Mehmanparast stressed.
Iran and the UAE are at loggerheads over the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which lie in the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf.
Iran took control of them in 1971 when colonial-era Britain withdrew from that part of the Gulf.
The Islamic republic says the islands are a historic part of its territory, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in April visited them to reassert that position.
However, the UAE claims ownership in line with an agreement signed with Britain, and has garnered support from other Gulf Arab states and its ally the United States.
Mehmanparast echoed Tehran’s line that the UAE stance has no “rational, logical, historical, or legal basis”.
He warned that the UAE could “suffer the fate of Britain” – alluding to Iran’s decision last year to downgrade diplomatic relations to Britain in anger over heightened Western sanctions.
Britain eventually cut direct diplomatic ties with Iran in December 2011 after pro-government demonstrators in Tehran stormed the British embassy.
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