Clockwise from top left: Flag of the UAE flutters on Abu Mousa; teachers from the UAE stranded in Gulf waters after they were denied entry to the island by Iranian authorities in 1992; the signboard of an Emirati school; and an aerial view of the island. Image Credit: Pictures courtesy: Al Khaleej & Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Foreign Ministry recalled Saif Mohammad Obaid Al Za'abi, ambassador to Iran, for consultations, a day after it condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's provocative visit to the UAE island of Abu Mousa, WAM reported.

The toughest move in many years will be followed by many more to come, according to Emirati analysts who called the first such visit by an Iranian head of state in more than 40 years "a blessing in disguise".

An analyst stressed Emirati rights to Iran-occupied Abu Mousa near the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, along with Greater and Lesser Tunbs, will be retained, no matter how long this takes or what are Tehran's acts.

Calling the visit "shameful", Dr Abdul Rahim Al Shaheen, professor of political science at the UAE University, said: "By making this stark violation of the UAE sovereignty over its lands, Iran has offered the UAE a golden opportunity that should be seized."

Dr Al Shaheen added the issue should be taken to the UN Security Council after consultation with the five permanent members, the GCC and Arab League members.

"An emergency meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council should be held to discuss measures that could be taken against the Islamic Republic… Should the policy of fait accompli continue by Iran, there should be further actions including lowering the level of diplomatic representation with Tehran and reducing or severing of economic ties with Iran," Dr Al Shaheen said.

Dr Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, the GCC's Secretary General slammed the visit as "provocative".

In a statement, Al Zayani said that the visit is a violation of the UAE's sovereignty, but does not change the historical, legal and sovereignty status of the UAE on the three occupied islands.

The Federal National Council also strongly denounced the visit saying in a statement "the visit is contrary to what has been agreed between the two countries to avoid the escalation of the issue to create a conducive atmosphere for reaching a settlement that consolidates security, stability and good neighbourliness."

The House called on Iran to cease such provocative steps and adopt peaceful approaches that could build confidence and help reach a just settlement to the issue of the three UAE islands occupied since 1971.

Yousuf Al Serkal, chairman of the UAE Football Association interim committee, said the UAE football team cancelled its friendly game with Iran on April 17.

— With inputs from WAM