UAE Recalls Envoy to Iran in Islands Row

UAE Recalls Envoy to Iran in Islands Row
The United Arab Emirates recalled its envoy to Tehran today, state news agency WAM reported, after having protested over a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a disputed island.

"The foreign ministry has recalled its ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saif Mohammed Abid al-Zaabi, for consultations," it said.

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan yesterday slammed Ahmadinejad's visit to the island of Abu Musa as a "flagrant violation of UAE sovereignty over its territories."

Both Iran and the Emirates claim territorial sovereignty over Abu Musa and two other islands in the southern Gulf.

This is a "setback to all efforts and attempts the UAE is making to find a peaceful settlement to Iran's occupation of the three UAE islands," the foreign minister said, quoted by WAM.

"This visit will not change the legal status of these islands which are part... Of the UAE national soil," the English-language statement said.

During his visit to the disputed island earlier yesterday, Ahmadinejad insisted historical documents proved "the Persian Gulf is Persian," according to Iran's official IRNA news agency.

The Iranian leader said the name "Persian Gulf" derived from the "culture, civilisation and the dominant opinion" of the area.
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