Iran to UAE – Abu Musa island dispute “Non negotiable” – Quick history lesson

It seems the Iran is getting a little hot under the collar due to the UAE’s rather unsubtle “look-see” on the Iranian island of Abu Musa.

The island itself lies in the Strait of Hormuz, which has obviously been making the new recently for reasons we won’t bother going into.

Island of Abu Musa in the middle of the Strait of Hormuz

It’s located in something of a strategic location, because the depth of the sea through the Strait is so shallow that oil tankers are forced to pass between the islands of Big Tumb, Abu Musa and Little Tumb. All of which are disputed territories claimed by Iran.

The other reason why Iran might be very interested in Abu Musa is quite clear from the map to the left.

Located at Sirri Island, Mubarek and Rahkish are three oil platforms, and the major theory is that Iran either suspects or knows for a fact that oil lies under Abu Musa.

Quite how much oil is open to some debate. But Iran is certainly unhappy with the share it receives from the oil fields in the area. The agreement with the UAE was a 50/50 split of profits, but this has not transpired as the UAE has sought outside assistance in effectively sucking the well dry quicker than Iran.

Given the locations usefulness to disrupt the oil shipping (almost certainly the reason why US Destroyers and Aircraft Carriers have been deployed to the Strait) and the source of oil; it’s clear that Iran isn’t going to let the UAE’s attempts to claim the island go lightly. After all, the Iranian army have effectively manned the island since 1971.

The irony of all this is that the only reason Iran has claim on the island is because the US backed Shah or Iran claimed the island in 1971, saying they had been taken from Iran and the the British had always maintained they would be returned.

Decades of sabre rattling later, and an attempt by the UAE to get Iran to agree to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and we are where we are.

Source: American University, Washington DC.


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