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Iran threatens to act militarily if diplomacy over disputed island fails

(Xinhua)

08:50, April 20, 2012

TEHRAN, April 19 (Xinhua) -- The commander of Iran's army ground forces threatened that if diplomacy over the disputed island in Persian Gulf fails, the army will step in to show its " might," the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Thursday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a controversial visit on April 11 to the disputed island of Abu Musa in the gulf, which is claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Iranian commander Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan was quoted as saying that "We will not allow any country to violate (the territory of the island)," referring the reactions of the UAE over Ahmadinejad' s visit, "If... the issue cannot be solved through diplomacy, then the Iranian military is ready to show its might to the protesting country."

Pourdastan said the island has belonged to Iran since the oldest times, and the Islamic republic will defend it "powerfully. "

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast on Wednesday condemned a recent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) statement on the disputed island, calling it a "blatant interference in the Islamic republic of Iran's internal affairs," Mehr reported.

Foreign ministers of the six GCC states, who gathered Tuesday in Doha for an emergency meeting on the dispute, condemned the Iranian president's trip to Abu Musa as "provocative" and called on Tehran to end the "occupation" through negotiations with Abu Dhabi.

Mehmanparast said Wednesday that Iran's sovereignty over the three Persian Gulf islands of Abu Musa, and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs is not negotiable.

Iran insists that historical documents have proven that Abu Musa, as well as neighboring islands Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb belong to Iran.

The UAE recalled its ambassador to Iran on April 12 for consultation, calling Iran's actions on Abu Musa a "risk for international peace and security." The UAE Federal National Council (FNC) "strongly denounced" the visit of Ahmadinejad to the disputed island.

The U.S. government on Tuesday called for a peaceful resolution of the dispute, saying that the recent visit by Ahmadinejad to the island complicated the situation.

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