The Gulf States have bitterly experienced the horrible and destructive wars of 1980 and of 1991, the underlying reasons of which were territorial claims and counter-claims, according to which none of these recognized principles had been applied in good faith.
Unfortunately, the rise of the imminent danger of a third war can be expected sooner or later, as a result of the building up of the controversy between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). Concerning the sovereignty over the three islands of Abu Mosa, and of Greater and Lesser Tunb’.
The Iranian claims and the U.A.E.' s counter-claims of sovereignty over the three islands date back to the beginning of this century, when the islands were under de facto sovereignty of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, before the formation of the U.A.E. Upon the declaration of Great Britain to withdraw from the Gulf at the end of 1971 and before the real withdrawal, Iran tried to carry out her claims though different means.
She exerted heavy pressure upon the ruler of Sharjah to sign the so-called Memorandum of Understanding on 29th of November 1971 according to which Iranian forces were stationed side by side with Sharjah forces in the island of Abu Musa . The next day, other Iranian forces occupied the two Tunb islands and hoisted the Iranian flag there without the consent of the Ruler of Ras al - Khaimah .
After the formation of the U.A.E. and its admission to the membership of the United Nations and to the O.I.C., to which the Islamic Republic of Iran was a member , the government of the U.A.E ., in several occasions, invited the Islamic Republic of Iran to settle peacefully the disputes over the islands though the coordinated and very effective mechanism for the settlement of international disputes as embodied in the Charter of these organizations .
Until now, these invitations were to no avail. One of these occasions was the G.C.C. 14th session on 23 December 1993, in which the G.C.C. Heads declared that : " The Islamic Republic of Iran should affirmatively respond to the invitation submitted to her by the President of the United Arab Emirates for the assumption of direct negotiation regarding the Iranian occupation of the United Arab Emirates' three islands". The invitation continued, adding that: "The G.C.C. members completely support and absolutely agree with the position of the United Arab Emirates. They also support all procedures and peaceful means, which the United Arab Emirates may rely upon in order to resume her sovereignty over the islands in accordance with the principles of international law. Soon after, the Islamic Republic of Iran vigorously opposed the invitation of the G.C.C. Heads of States by defending her position in the islands and reiterated her claims of sovereignty over them. Throughout the entire period of the disputes, a few legal studies have hastily come across the description of this issue without toggling it or providing an alternative legal solution. Therefore, it is the main purpose of this study to deeply scrutinize this problem, to balance the argument of each party against the prevailing principles of contemporary international law, and to provide a practical and positive legal mechanism for peaceful settlement of the disputes, if the parties faithfully agree to apply them.
Al-Rashidi, Medwis Fallah
"Positive Approach to the Disputes over the three Islands Abu Mosa, Tunb Al-Kubra and Tunb Al-Sughra-نظرة موضوعية في النزاع بين إيران ودولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة بشأن الجزر الثلاث,"
UAEU Law Journal: Vol. 1996:
10, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uaeu.ac.ae/sharia_and_law/vol1996/iss10/5