The visit by Iranian members of parliament to the three occupied islands of Abu Mousa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb is nothing short of a provocative act. Legal facts and history will bear witness that Iran has no right to initiate such actions. They are nothing short of an encroachment upon and a violation of the UAE’s sovereignty.
Such actions by Iran amount to unnecessary harassment of peaceful neighbours, coupled with Tehran’s abilities to stay relevant in the region by being aggressive, inciteful and assertive. On a larger scale, Iran’s actions are provocative and directed against a country which has an established reputation for being a peaceful global citizen by virtue of its philosophy of peaceful coexistence and cooperation among neighbours.
Sadly, Tehran’s behaviour is orchestrated to deflect a larger and transparent truth: The country is facing international sanctions — thanks to its controversial nuclear programme. Its domestic foundation is also facing major challenges — thanks to an economy which is being crippled as a result of these injunctions and cases of human rights abuses against its citizens. With elections looming, Iran is simply resorting to a bit of sabre-rattling across the region, knowing full well that its bark can only be worse than its bite — given that it is muzzled by international penalties.
The islands are wrongfully under Iranian occupation. These actions and a frequent attempt to advertise them only affect the security and stability of the region. Moreover, it does not change the truth — that the territory belongs to the UAE. It also ensures that the UAE’s policy of enhancing relationships with its neighbour is brought to naught, given that both countries share historical bonds.
The UAE has always been an active advocate of positive dialogue. It is a pity that in its moment of self-obsession, Iran fails to recognise this and hence stops from deliberating the truth across a negotiating table. It betrays the true intent of Tehran’s policies. Its main aspiration is to ensure that there is unnecessary provocation and tension in the Gulf, but this will only have short-term gains. In most cases, under the current scenario, it may even backfire on Tehran.