Tehran prefers cooperation with its Gulf neighbors to maintain regional stability, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday amid an ongoing territorial dispute with Iran's Arab neighbors.
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 United Arab Emirates after the Iranian president visited the island of Abu Musa, which is claimed by both countries.
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."
His remarks came hours before foreign ministers from the six Gulf Cooperation Council states were set 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.