May 31, 2019
The islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunb, which lie off the UAE coastline and are regarded as strategically important waypoints in the Strait of Hormuz, provide the closest reminder of Iran’s sustained program of regional disruption and aggression, as well as its long-standing willingness to ignore international law.
All three were seized by Iran in 1971 as the UAE was formed. The Tunbs had historically belonged to Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Musa to Sharjah, when both emirates were still part of the Trucial States.
In the years since the islands were taken on November 30, 1971, the UAE had sought to settle the issue of Iran’s illegal occupation through peaceful methods and arbitration. This country has repeatedly pressed the case directly with international organizations and with Iran itself.
The UAE enjoys widespread international support for its case. For its part, Iran has met this diplomatic outreach with inflammatory rhetoric and has consistently rejected referring the matter to the International Court of Justice. Seven years ago, Iranian officials declared Tehran’s occupation was “permanent and non-negotiable.”
Iran’s actions over Abu Musa tell you everything you need to know about its regional designs. Strident and unwilling to compromise, it has no apparent strategic vision save for aggression and expansion by proxy. (The National – UAE)