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Why the fight over Abu Musa?

Why the fight over Abu Musa?

Why are the UAE and Iran squaring up over an island which measures just about 12 square kilometers, almost 350 times smaller than the emirate of Dubai?

August 31, 2008 11:59 by

The UAE has recently sent a complaint to the UN, about Iran’s reported establishment of facilities on the island of Abu Musa. In a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the UAE claimed that Iran was continuing to violate an agreement signed between the two sides in 1971. Tehran has reportedly established a maritime rescue office and an office for the registration of ships and sailors on the island, which the UAE lays claim to.

International documents show that three islands, which were historically owned by Iran, temporarily fell to British control in 1903. When British forces left the Gulf in 1971, Iran took possession of Greater and Lesser Tunbs, while Abu Musa, the only inhabited island, was placed under joint administration under a deal with Sharjah, now part of the UAE.

Iran has repeatedly dismissed the UAE claims over Abu Musa, stressing its ownership over the islands are indisputable. Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in mid-August that that they are open to talks with the UAE to remove any misunderstanding about the islands.

So what value does the island hold?

The island is valued by these two countries for economic, security, and environmental reasons, according research from the American University in Washington. One significant feature about the island is that it is potentially full of oil reserves. Also, the island is located in the Strait of Hormuz, the mouth of the Arabian Gulf. This strategic position could allow a country to influence the Gulf’s shipping lane.

But there are also environmental concerns associated with Abu Musa. If there were to be an oil spill on or around this island, it could have consequences on the environment and the nearby animal life.

The UAE enjoys major Arab backing in the dispute. The GCC has strongly denounced Iran’s move, saying the islands belong to the UAE and are being occupied by Iran.

But tension between the two countries will not spell well for either nation.

According to reports, Iranian investment in Dubai reaches about $14bn each year, and an estimated 450,000 Iranians live in the UAE.

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  1. Omid on August 31, 2008 5:22 pm

    Since When the Persian Gulf has become Arabian Gulf????

  2. Farah Anwar on September 2, 2008 3:26 am

    Since I was in Grade 3 20 years ago.

  3. sultan almuhairi on September 2, 2008 10:32 am

    since forever, only if you know history of your own land you would know that Iran had non to do with the gulf, since the great islamic empair back in the 700’s. persians are exactly what they are, Cats and cats scared of water. 90% of the population live along the coast of the gulf are know as Arab of Persia
    read some history before you speak up Omid

  4. Max Factor on September 16, 2008 7:58 pm

    HAHAHA! Oh this is so funny, really. Come on, lay into each other some more!
    By the way, how many UAE nationals do you think are of Iranian origin? Many, I can tell you. After all, are names such as Gargash, Futtaim more Arabic or Persian? What do you think? (rhetorical question this one, old Sport. Ask a few Arabs if you’re not sure).

  5. ramin on October 31, 2008 1:08 am

    hopefully iran and obamas us can get closer and someday become friends again….then iran can not only take back all of Abu Musa, but also Bahrain and while we are at it we can ban the PERSIAN Gulf from being called the Arabian Gulf. hell lets rename the arabian sea to the Arabian sea.

  6. AG on June 18, 2010 3:29 am

    “and an estimated 450,000 Iranians live in the UAE.”

    Wow, Why is that, is Iran a real dump?


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