Shaikh Abdulla Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Shaikh Abdulla Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foriegn Affairs and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, at the recent OIC conference in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

When a country hosts an international conference, it has the right to draw up the final statement. And should any participating nation have objections to the communique, it should submit its objection in writing. Iran is apparently failing to recognise this. A case in point is the recently concluded Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Abu Dhabi. Iran’s allegations that UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed “tended to impose his ambitious attitudes on the meeting by misusing UAE’s own particular position as the host of the conference and passed the statement” lacks merit. If it had any serious objections, it should have withdrawn from the session. Instead, the head of the Iranian delegation continued to attend the conference, after lodging Tehran’s protest about the final statement.

At the summit, Shaikh Abdullah minced no words about what is a well-known fact: Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Arab states. He called on Tehran to stop spreading chaos in the region, saying: “We reiterate our demands to our neighbour Iran to review its policy and to stop interference in the affairs of states, supporting groups that fuel conflicts and to stop supporting, financing and arming terrorist organisations.”

Iran has an inflated view of its position in the 57-member OIC. Given that it has attained a certain degree of influence through proxy groups in some Arab states, it feels it can use its influence to have a significant impact on the final statement, and also on the proceedings of the conference. On Monday, the Netherlands recalled its ambassador to Iran for consultations in response to the expulsion of two diplomats at its embassy in Tehran. The move comes two months after the Netherlands accused Tehran of being behind political killings in the country, and attempted murders in France and Denmark, that triggered new European Union sanctions against Tehran. This move clearly shows that even within the European Union, where some countries still back the nuclear deal with Iran, it is losing friends. Iran has repeatedly shown its contempt for international law, and has for decades refused neutral arbitration on the issue of its occupation of the three UAE islands, Abu Mousa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs. Iran knows it cannot back up its claims on the islands in the face of international arbitration. For a country that shows such disregard for international law, Iran’s baseless accusations against others ring hollow.