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Ahmadinejad urges Gulf cooperation amid islands row
By JPOST.COM STAFF AND REUTERS
17/04/2012
Iranian armed forces will inflict regret and shame to territorial threats, Iranian president says at National Army Day parade in Tehran.
 
Tehran prefers cooperation with its Gulf neighbors to maintain regional stability, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday amid an ongoing territorial dispute with the United Arab Emirates.

Still, "The [Iranian] armed forces and the army will inflict heavy regret and shame" should it encounter threats to Iranian territorial integrity, AFP quoted the Iranian president as saying at a ceremony marking Iran's National Army Day.

Ahmadinejad made the comments after the recent spike in tensions between Iran and the UAE after the Iranian president visited the island of Abu Musa, which is claimed by both countries.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan called the visit by Ahmadinejad a "flagrant violation of the United Arab Emirates' sovereignty over its territory and a transgression of efforts to find a peaceful settlement to end Iranian occupation of the three UAE islands."

While failing to mention explicitly the islands dispute, Ahmadinejad said: "When it comes to the Persian Gulf, security is achieved only through the collective cooperation of all nations and governments."

The UAE has recalled its ambassador to Tehran for consultations after what it called a "flagrant violation" of its sovereignty, the state news agency WAM reported.

His remarks came hours before foreign ministers from the six Gulf Cooperation Council states were set to meet in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the issue of three contentious islands located in the Persian Gulf, which Ahmadinejad said is historically "Persian" during his April 11 visit to Abu Musa.

Iran marked National Army Day (Rouz-e Artesh) on Tuesday with a parade showcasing its military hardware.

The display, aired on television by Iran's state broadcaster, showed a variety of tanks, artillery, missiles, drones and air defense systems - as senior military officers observe from the grandstands.

On its website, Iran's English-language Press TV said the display demonstrates the country's "military might."

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Press TV added that the country had made major breakthroughs in the defense sector in recent years.

Earlier this week, talks resumed between Iran and six world powers over Tehran's nuclear program, which many Western leaders suspect is a cover to develop nuclear weapons.

But Iran insists its nuclear ambitions do not extend beyond power generation and medical applications.
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