Iran summons Swiss envoy after US statement on disputed Gulf islands
Tehran says it is determined to defend its territorial integrity and protect its security and interests against any threats from the US.
Iran announced on Friday it had summoned the Swiss envoy to deliver a protest over a "provocative" US statement on its decades-old dispute with the UAE over three Gulf islands.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry was reacting to a joint statement issued on Wednesday by top diplomats of the United States and the six Gulf Arab states backing UAE calls for negotiations or arbitration of the dispute, which dates back to the early 1970s.
"The strong protest and condemnation of the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding this ill-considered position and the provocative actions of the American government were communicated (on Thursday) to the Swiss charge d'affaires who represents US interests in Iran," the Ministry confirmed in a statement.
The statement underlined that "Iran is determined to defend its territorial integrity and protect its security and interests against any threats from the US government."
The islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb lie near the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic seaway between the Gulf and the open ocean through which a fifth of world oil output passes. Iran gained control of the islands when still under the rule of the Western-backed shah in 1971.
In Wednesday's statement, US and Gulf diplomats "reaffirmed their support for the UAE's call to reach a peaceful solution to the dispute over the three islands, through bilateral negotiations or the International Court of Justice."
On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanani condemned the US move, making it clear that the three islands were "an inseparable and eternal part of the territory" of Iran.
It is noteworthy that in July, Iran also summoned the Russian ambassador in Tehran to protest a similar joint statement by Gulf Arab governments and Moscow.