Iran deputy FM says Ahmadinejad’s visit to disputed island 'internal affair'
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has described an official trip by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to disputed island of Abu Musa as the country's "internal affair", Press TV reported.
"President Ahmadinejad's visit to this island is an internal affair which has been made in the framework of his provincial tours," Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday.
The comments come after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) summoned its ambassador to Tehran, Saif Mohammed Abid al-Zaabi, earlier on Thursday in protest against Ahmadinejad's official trip to Abu Musa.
On Wednesday, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan criticized the visit as a "violation of UAE sovereignty over its territories."
The Iranian deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs stressed the "historical and eternal belonging" of the Persian Gulf islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa to Iran, adding, "The Islamic Republic is seriously determined to develop and strengthen the ties between the two countries."
He also invited the UAE officials for dialog to resolve any misunderstandings between the two nations.
Abu Musa, along with two smaller islands, was taken over by Iran after British forces withdrew in 1971. It is claimed by both countries, but controlled by Iran.