Iran slams Gulf Arab 'interference' over disputed islands

April 18, 2012 17:55

DUBAI - Iran accused its Gulf Arab neighbors on Wednesday of interfering in its internal affairs after they described a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a tiny island - claimed by Iran and the United Arab Emirates - as a "provocative act."

After holding an extraordinary meeting to discuss the issue, foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council urged Iran to end its occupation of the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb which lie near key shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.

Iran took control of the islands in 1971, shortly before the Gulf emirates gained full independence from Britain and formed the UAE. The islands are valued for their strategic position in the Strait and for their potential oil reserves.

"The Iranian ownership of these islands is a fixed matter. It is static and non-negotiable," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Rahim Mehmanparast said in a statement.

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