Dr Anwar Gargash | UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Iran’s rationale for occupying UAE islands will never yield international legitimacy, UAE State Minister of Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said.

“Iran’s excessive sensitivity to its occupation of the Emirati islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa is incomprehensible,” he posted on Twitter on Monday.

“Tehran finds itself in a critical situation in every international forum because its occupation remains illegal, illegitimate and unrecognised. The UAE has since the first day of the occupation called for a peaceful resolution of the issue through dialogue and arbitration.”

On November 30, 1971, Iranian forces seized the Greater and Lesser Tunb. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was already in place between Iran and Sharjah to allow both authorities to administer part of the island of Abu Mousa.

The island is a 12.8 km² stretch of land, located in the Arabian Gulf, in front of Sharjah lying in a curve and leading up to the entrance of the Straits of Hormuz.

Since the early 1990s, Iran has been in breach of the MoU that was signed only under the threat of invasion.

The UAE has called on Tehran to agree to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague or engage in direct negotiations, but Iran has refused both options.

In a second tweet, Gargash added that the case of the occupied Emirates islands is a clear example that the rationale of occupation, the logic of power and the imposition of the status quo do not create international legitimacy and do not systemise occupation.

“The rejection of the UAE’s peaceful calls to solve this case puts Iran in a critical position. Iran’s attitude in this case sends a broader message about its orientation in the Arabian Gulf region,” he said.

The official said there have been numerous international stances over disputed islands and the states have dealt with them in a way that was similar to the peaceful, legal and rational UAE orientations.

“In contrast, the Iranian position is, unfortunately, irrational because its occupation is based on force and is not supported by any legal or historical substantiation,” Gargash posted.