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Iran Summons Russian Envoy Over Statement on Disputed Gulf Islands

Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov (L-R seated) at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow on Dec. 5, 2023. Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

Iran has summoned Russia's envoy to protest a recent statement by Moscow and Arab countries calling for talks over three islands controlled by Tehran but claimed by the United Arab Emirates.

The summoning of Moscow's charge d'affaires came days after Iran's key ally Russia signed a joint declaration with Arab countries which "supported peaceful solutions and initiatives" to resolve the dispute over the islands.

Iran's foreign ministry said on Saturday it summoned Moscow's charge d'affaires in Tehran, in the absence of its ambassador, to submit a "note of protest" on the contents of the joint statement.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers any claim from any side in this regard as rejected and unacceptable," Iran's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Iran's top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also called the islands "an integral part of Iran's territorial integrity" in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday.

"Tehran will not compromise with any side on the issue of respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty," he added.

Iran in July summoned the Russian ambassador to protest a similar joint statement signed by Moscow and Arab countries on the islands.

Located in the Gulf, the three strategic islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa are located near the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of world oil output passes.

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