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  • 4/28/2012

History of abu musa and the tunbs

part 3

persian gulf

2- Nineteenth-century correspondence:

Apart from resorting to these old and long exhausted arguments put forward by the British during the colonial era, the UAE bases its claims over these islands on a number of letters exchanged between the Qasemis of Bandar Lengeh, Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimeh. Some of these letters date as far back as 1864. They are contradictory and make fanciful claims on various localities up and down the

region.

The most important of these letters was written by Shaikh Yusef Al-Qasemi of Bandar Lengeh to the Sheikh of Ras

al-Khaimeh, in which the latter states: "the island of Tunb actually or in reality is for you". There is little doubt about the nature of this sentence as a standard oriental compliment. A few lines below this statement, Shaikh Yusef adds a further compliment: "and the town of Lengeh is your town". No one has ever been under any illusion, then or at any other time, that Port Lengeh had ever belonged to any country but Iran. When this reference to Lengeh as belonging to the Sheikh of Ras al-Khaimeh has never been and cannot be taken as anything other than a courtesy/compliment, one must ask, how could a similar reference to Tunb Island be taken literally? Certainly the expression "mi case es su casa" ought not to be.  When in 1929 King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia wrote to the Sheikh of Bahrain complaining about the treatment of his subjects there, received a letter of from the Sheikh who states that "Bahrain, Qatif, Hasa and Nejd were all one and belong to Your Majesty". Certainly inclusion of Bahrain in that list could not have been but pure compliment.

 

International Reaction:

International reaction to the UAE claims to the Iranian owned islands of Abu Musa and the two Tunbs has been one of impartiality in spite of ten years of campaign by Abu Dhabi for politicising and internationalising the issue. Despite the issue of routine statements by the Arab League and the Arabic countries forming the (Persian) GCC in support of UAE position, Arab states on the whole remain impartial and privately apologise to the Iranian authorities for "having to sign" those statements. This hypocrisy clearly represents Arab scepticism of these claims, especially at a time when Arab-Iranian cooperation is high on the political agenda of both sides in the Persian Gulf.

Of the major powers in the West none has taken side in this dispute. Politicians from time to time tried to murmur support for Abu Dhabi but stopped playing games as soon as they were reminded of their government's impartiality in the matter. This was particularly true of former UK Foreign Office Minister, Late Derrick Fatched. He stopped all the activities he had started in support of Abu Dhabi as soon as the prominent Iranian scholar and reseracher "Dr. Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh" wrote and reminded him that it was his government that negotiated and legally settled the issue of these islands with Iran in 1971.

Similarly, a recent Gulf 2000 (of Columbia University) publication, Security in the Persian Gulf, edited by the controversial and opportunist Gary Sick (one of the former President Jimmy Carter's advisors and a well known

pro-Khatami lobbyist in the US) and his deputy, Dr. Lawrence Potter, show indication of partiality in favour of  UAE claims. While Iranian contribution to this book is deliberately arranged to be from non-specialist sources, Dr. Al-Alkim, the over zealous promoter of Abu Dhabi's territorial claims against Iran is given the opportunity in his chapter, to launch even a personal attack on Dr. Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh's contribution to the academic debate on the issue. He declared Mojtahedzadeh's works in proving Iran's "claims" to Tunb and Abu Musa islands as ineffective and useless. This is done despite the fact that Mojtahedzadeh wrote to Dr. Potter in advance of this publication, reminding him, in no uncertain terms, that partiality of their approach to the issue was patently obvious. Moreover, normally there is no need for any reference to a useless or ineffective work in an academic book. Not only does such remarks put academic impartiality of the book in doubt, but also implies displeasure with the effectiveness of Mojtahedzadeh's works, which has secured UAE' political isolation in the region to the extend that Abu Dhabi had to abandon its anti-Iranian policies in 2002. There's a big doubt that Dr. Al-Alkim has read any of Mojtahedzadeh or various other scholars and historians works in this regard. Once in a seminar in London Mojtahedzadeh gave him a copy of his collection of facts and documents "The Islands of Tunb and Abu Musa" (CNMES/ SOAS 1995), but Al-Alkim declined reading it. Had he read that book or any other academic work on Iran's position vis-?-vis these islands, he would know that Iran does not "claim" these islands; Iran owns them and they are under Iranian sovereignty and control. It is only Abu Dhabi that claims these islands.  Finally, by referring to the issue as "the unfinished business", the controversial and opportunist Gary Sick and Lawrence Potter make their partiality in their treatment of the issue of UAE claims to Tunbs and Abu Musa islands blatantly clear at the beginning of their book. Considering the fact that Iran and Britain legally settled the issue through negotiations in 1971, one wanders what unfinished business they refer to?

As the legal guardian of the emirates at the time, Great Britain completed the business by negotiating the legal instrument of 1971 MoU between Iran and Sharjah on Abu Musa, and by agreeing to the unconditional return of the two Tunbs to Iran. What they conveniently ignore here is the fact that if the business was unfinished in any way, Great Britain had the legal obligation of launching an official protest against Iran. Rather, we all know that UK's permanent representative at the United Nations declared on December 9, 1971 the overall settlement of the issue of these islands as a model agreement for the settlement of similar territorial differences elsewhere in the world.

Source: thepersiangulf.org


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