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Listen to reason, Iran told.

Abu Dhabi UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan yesterday said that the occupation of the three UAE Islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa by Iran could threaten international security and peace as the three islands are located in a strategic zone, and 40 per cent of the world's energy passes near the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Shaikh Abdullah urged Iran to listen to reason, extending yet another invitation to Tehran to enter negotiations over the three islands occupied by Iran since 1971 or take the issue to international arbitration.

"With all my love, I appeal again to Iran to listen to reason to end this dispute, because it will not only affect the two countries and peoples, but threaten international peace and security -- repercusions that could not be contained by the UAE or Iran," Shaikh Abdullah told a joint news conference with his visiting Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna, in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Speaking on the eve of a special meeting of GCC foreign ministers to discuss a series of diplomatic actions after Iran's president visited the UAE's occupied island of Abu Mousa, Shaikh Abdullah said: "We've to have a clear agenda and a deadline for the negotiations to resolve the issue or take it to international arbitration at the International Court of Justice. We cannot keep this issue going on forever." Shaikh Abdullah blamed Tehran for failing to reach a solution to the issue. "We in the UAE are very serious about ending the conflict, but it seems that the Iranian regime and for domestic reasons is not so keen to do so. Maybe due to a slowdown of the economy, weak currency or inability to cope with the international sanctions, Tehran wishes to transport its difficulties and divert the attention of public opinion to a less important issue," he said.

Iran yesterday claimed things could become "very complicated" if Gulf states "do not act cautiously" over the UAE islands issue.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that although Iran wanted good relations with the UAE and was willing to hold discussions, "our rule over the islands is not negotiable, and Iran's sovereignty over the islands is certain and on the record."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Apr 17, 2012
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