Reuters: Gulf Arab countries have denounced Iran's installation of offices on a disputed island in the strategic Gulf waterway and compared its presence there to Israel's occupation of Arab land.
DUBAI, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Gulf Arab countries have denounced Iran's installation of offices on a disputed island in the strategic Gulf waterway and compared its presence there to Israel's occupation of Arab land.
"It is not permissible for states to occupy the territories of others as is known in the case of the dispute between the Arabs and the Israelis," the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted Abdulrahman al-Attiyah, secretary-general of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as saying.
Abu Musa and the Lesser and Greater Tunbs, located near key shipping lanes in the Gulf, are controlled by non-Arab Iran but claimed by the United Arab Emirates with broad Arab support.
The UAE summoned Iran's charge d'affaires last week to protest against Iran's establishment of maritime offices on one of the islands and said the move should be reversed.
In May, the UAE protested against Iran's dismissal of the three-decade-old territorial dispute as a misunderstanding and said Iran was occupying its islands in the strategic Gulf. A UAE source compared Iran's actions at the time to the Israeli occupation of Arab lands.
An Arab League summit in March pledged support for the UAE, calling for a peaceful resolution to the dispute in the Gulf, a crucial outlet for world crude oil supply, which it said would help improve relations between the Arab world and Iran.
Despite the territorial dispute, the two Gulf neighbours have strong trade ties and officials exchange visits. (Writing by Lin Noueihed; Editing by Charles Dick)