Arab Parliament criticizes Ahmadinejad visit to disputed island
An advisory council to the Arab League on Sunday criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for visiting an island claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), accusing him of trying to provoke Gulf countries, dpa reported.
"This provocative visit has stirred up feelings of Arab anger toward Iran and exposed deceit and falsehood in Iran's claims that its relations with the Arab Gulf countries are friendly and peaceful," Arab Parliament speaker Ali Salem al-Diqbassi said in a statement.
The Gulf island of Abu Musa, along with two smaller islands, was taken over by Iran after British forces withdrew in 1971. The UAE also stakes claims to the islands.
"Iran must realize that the security of the Arab countries is indivisible," al-Diqbassi added following a meeting of Arab lawmakers in Cairo.
The UAE this week recalled its ambassador to Tehran and cancelled a friendly football match in protest.
Iran's state-run news agency said on Sunday that an Iranian tour company would start arranging trips to the island.
The islands have a strategic location near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital channel for seaborne oil shipments from the Gulf.