Tehran sees UAE new position on Iranian islands a ‘positive step’

March 14, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has described the new position of the United Arab Emirates on the issue of three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf as “a positive step,” saying Iran is ready to hold direct talks with the UAE to settle the issue.

Mehmanparast made the remarks in response to UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayan who has said Tehran and Abu Dhabi will peacefully resolve the issue of the three Persian Gulf islands.
According to the Emirates News Agency, the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council also said in a statement issued after its 118th meeting in Riyadh on Friday that upon the request of the UAE foreign minister it would not mention the issue of the three islands of the Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa in its final resolution.
“The UAE’s change of position can be considered a positive step toward the rectification of this country’s approach,” Mehmanparast said.
He went on to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always announced that it is ready to hold direct talks with the UAE to clarify the misunderstandings about the issue of the three Iranian islands.
The spokesman said that Iran is seeking to promote its ties with the members of the PGCC including the UAE based on the principle of good-neighborliness and expressed hope that the council would try to facilitate expansion of relations between Iran and the PGCC countries through adopting proper policies on Iran.
The UAE has repeatedly made claims of sovereignty over the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf, but Iran has always described the claims as invalid and baseless, insisting that the islands are an inseparable part of Iran.
The PGCC statement in December 2010 claiming the three Iranian islands “are an integral part of the United Arab Emirates” heightened the tension and provoked strong reactions of the Iranian Foreign Ministry officials and parliamentarians.