Tehran will not negotiate over three Gulf islands disputed with the United Arab Emirates, and instead summoned Russia’s ambassador on Wednesday after Moscow released a joint statement with Arab countries earlier this week challenging Iran’s claim to the islands.
On Monday, Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issued a joint statement in which foreign ministers expressed their support for UAE’s initiative to reach a peaceful solution to the issue of the islands through bilateral negotiations or the International Court of Justice.
The statement came after the sixth ministerial meeting of strategic dialogue between Russia and the GCC in Moscow.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani condemned the Russia-GCC statement as contrary to friendly relations between Iran and its neighbours, adding “the three islands belong to Iran forever.”
Later, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian tweeted, “We never stand upon ceremony with any side over Iran’s independence, sovereignty and integrity,” without naming Russia.
Government spokesman Ali Bahadori-Jahromi made a similar assertion.
– Moscow’s Opponents
The positions of government officials close to conservative President Ibrahim Raisi came at a time when their opponents, especially supporters of the previous government headed by the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani, criticized the Iranian-Russian rapprochement.
The officials especially condemned Iran’s official position with regard to the Ukraine war, which they said harmed the indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington and halted chances to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and to lift US sanctions.
“We were not surprised by Russia’s position, particularly that Moscow had committed unforgivable betrayals over more than 100 years,” wrote reformist political activist Hamid Abu Talebi, an adviser to the former Iranian president.
“It is strange that despite the Russian aggressions against Iran, Moscow was capable again to deceive Tehran, by making us lose the nuclear agreement, fall into the Russian war trap, and realize the desire of the tsarist Russia to free Moscow from isolation and global sanctions,” he wrote.
Abu Talebi then lashed out at the foreign policy enforced by the current government, describing it as “a no goal policy,” especially in its relations with the east.
Meanwhile, Former MP Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh wrote on Twitter, “We will see a bigger betrayal by the Russians when the dictator is forced to deescalate with NATO.”
For his part, reformist political analyst, Ahmed Zaidabadi, wrote on his Telegram channel, “Iranian officials ignore the need to follow a correct and balanced foreign policy that serves national interests.”