Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a joint news conference in Moscow, Russia March 15, 2022.

Russia And Iran Discuss Territorial Integrity

Wednesday, 12/27/2023

Iran and Russia's foreign ministers discussed the ongoing contentious issue of Iran's "territorial integrity" as the debate over three islands continues.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov spoke Tuesday in the wake of the latest dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates' claims over three Persian Gulf islands, Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb, which have historically been part of Iran as evidenced by historical and geographical documents.
However, the UAE has repeatedly claimed sovereignty over the islands, describing the situation as a “continuation of Iranian occupation.”

The Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, quoted Lavrov as saying that “Moscow is unwavering in its commitment to respecting Iran's territorial integrity,” but tensions flared following Russia’s recent move to sign a joint statement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Morocco in support of the UAE's right to file a lawsuit against Iran regarding the three contested islands.

Russia's decision to support the Arab claim is particularly humiliating to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has shown a particular affinity for Moscow and President Vladimir Putin. His policy has been to maintain close ties with Russia and China and to avoid opportunities to improve relations with the West.

China however also took a similar stance last year when it signed a joint statement with the GCC in which the UAE mentioned three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf as a claim. But the backlash this time is more widespread, and it includes hard-liners as well.

Even Khamenei's most senior foreign policy adviser, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, criticized Russian behavior, saying, "Iran will not allow any foreign entity to intervene in its internal affairs."

In Tehran, legislators also expressed their dissatisfaction with Russia's stance, and some called for a serious review of Iran's foreign policy as well as a more comprehensive examination of the possible damages caused by these political maneuvers.

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