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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Building Artificial Islands Darkens Iran-UAE Ties

FARS News Agency

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior military aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader called on the United Arab Emirates to immediately stop construction of man-made islands in the Persian Gulf, and cautioned that such moves would tarnish the relations between Tehran and Abu Dhabi. 

"Building such islands will further complicate the existing differences between the Emiratis and the Iranians and also will cause further divergence and darkening of relations between the two countries," Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi stressed on Monday.

He also reiterated that due to the presence of the trans-regional powers in the Persian Gulf, any decision by the littoral states to make major changes in the Southern coasts of the Persian Gulf to attain political, security and economic goals will have unpleasant consequences for the region's ecosystem, politics, security and economy.

"Another theory is that the Persian Gulf region will be a center of tensions for a long period of time and such tensions will lead to the long-term presence of the trans-regional powers and their possible interference in the internal affairs of the regional countries," Rahim-Safavi warned. 

The UAE has planned to build over 325 artificial islands in the waters of the Persian Gulf by the year 2016. These islands will reportedly have tourist resorts, railroads, hotels and other tourist facilities.

The development came amid Tehran's stepped-up efforts to boost ties and cooperation with the neighboring states, the Persian Gulf littoral states in particular.

Iran is a significant trade partner for the UAE, with the trade volume between Iran and the emirate of Dubai alone estimated at about $10 billion a year.

The United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister Abdallah bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan in a phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in December called for the further promotion and deepening of relations and bolstering of cooperation between the two Persian Gulf littoral states.

The two sides also expressed the hope to discuss the latest conditions in Iran-UAE ties in a meeting in the near future.

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