Magazine article The Middle East

Island Dispute Continues

Magazine article The Middle East

Island Dispute Continues

Article excerpt

WHILE CONCERN AT THE ONGOING political situation with Iran continues to bubble relentlessly on in the West, there are growing concerns closer to home at the Islamic Republic's intransigent behaviour.

There is palpable relief in the UAE that the pipeline from Abu Dhabi to Fujeirah is now complete, allowing more than one million barrels a day of local oil to by-pass the Straits of Hormuz, guaranteeing security should Iran make good on its threats to close the strategic waterway.

In a recent meeting with the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, described one of the problems with Iran as its unpredictability. "Sometimes Iran acts like a State and sometimes it acts like a Revolution", he told The Middle East.

When it is being the former, the country acted with responsibility. However, he noted, when being the latter, it behaves irresponsibly, especially in terms of spreading a brand of fundamentalism "that has hijacked our religion."

Speaking of the government in Tehran, Dr Gargash noted that the extremist message it has championed in relation to both Al Qaeda and fundamentalism, has been carried into Iran, Lebanon and Syria, to the detriment of them all. In these places, as well as in Pakistan and Somalia the UAE has seen the effects of such "brainwashing" on some of its own young nationals who have heeded the "jihadist" call, the Minister of State noted. Looking at events in the region, Dr Gargash described the current "worst case scenario" as an attack by Israel upon Iran which, he said, would have "huge repercussions on the UAE and its neighbours". He went on to note: "Iran has been very interventionist in the last few years and that concerns us."

It is no secret that the UAE is also bitterly disappointed at Iran's failure to come to the negotiating table on the issue of the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunbs and Lesser Tunbs. …

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