In fact the UAE held bilateral negations with officials from Iran in September of 1992. During this meeting the following request were made concerning Iran's occupation of the Islands.
1. The UAE wanted Iran to end the military occupation of both of the Tunbs Islands ("Assertion of the UAE").
2. The UAE asked that Iran make a commitment to adhere to the provisions established by 1971 Memorandum of Understanding as it pertained to Abu Musa ("Assertion of the UAE").
3. Abstain from interfering in any way or the United Arab Emirate's authority over the Abu Musa Island ("Assertion of the UAE").
4. Withdraw all efforts to impose on "the government organs on the Island of Abu Musa and on the citizens of the state and on the expatriates who work there ("Assertion of the UAE")."
5. Develop an appropriate framework to determine the issue of sovereignty over the Island of Abu Musa within an allotted period of time ("Assertion of the UAE").
In the years since this bilateral meetings the request of the UAE have not changed. However, Iran has not changed its position and continues to occupy the islands. Although these requests have not been honored the UAE remains hopeful that the problems can be resolved diplomatically. For instance Sheikh Abdullah of the UAE explained in an interview in the spring of 2010 that
"The UAE's position is one of hope that the Iranian side will end this dispute peacefully and calmly…We hope the Iranian side will look at this dispute and the occupation not only as an obstacle to improving relations between our two countries but also as an obstacle to Iran's relations with Arab states. For the sake of everybody, we hope this issue will be resolved peacefully and as soon as possible ("UAE calls again on Iran to end islands "occupation")."
The government and people of the UAE seem desperate to solve this conflict in a peaceful manner. Thus far diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict have been unsuccessful, however attempts to solve the conflict in a diplomatic way still persist. Given the current instability that exist in the region the last thing that is needed is more war and instability. Such instability is not good for either side and threatens to further destabilize the region. As such the UAE must continue to attempt to solve the problem diplomatically.
Both sides need to decide that they want to solve this conflict for the sake of the region and international peace. This can be done when the officials of each territory get together and devise ways to work together so that the islands can be utilized to benefit both parties. Perhaps Iran can cease occupation of the UAE but still be allowed to conduct business in the region. Iran must understand that by occupying the region, they appear to be renegades in the eyes of the international community. With all the other issues that Iran is facing with the development of nuclear weapons, it should be concerned about the perceptions that are being cultivated around the world about Iran because of their inability to act diplomatically.
There have been some calls from compromise so that the issue can be resolved. However, Iran is notorious for not complying with agreements so even if a compromise is reached it is likely that Iran will not honor the commitment that it makes. At the current time the sovereignty of the UAE over the islands cannot be exercise because Iran refuse to stop occupying the territories. Hopefully in the future the diplomatic efforts presented in this discussion will be implemented so that the stability of the region can be strengthened.
At the current time the United States and other nations have refused to take a position on the sovereignty of UAE over the three islands (Abed & Hellyer ). Although nations in the west have a good relationship with the UAE they are careful to remain neutral on the issue because they fear that a nuclear war could occur between the two nations if the problem can't be resolved diplomatically. The reluctance of these nations to side with the UAE in particular is understandable given the unpredictable nature of the Iranian government. However, their reluctance also makes diplomatic solutions more difficult to achieve because the UAE does not have the international weight that nations such as the United States possesses. Therefore, if this conflict is to be resolved diplomatically these nations may have to take a stance on the issue of sovereignty so that the UAE has the support necessary to negotiate an amicable end to the conflict that exists between itself and Iran.
The purpose of this discussion was to explain the issue of Iran's occupation of the UAE islands and present an international law perspective on the issue while also presenting diplomatic ways of resolving the conflict. The research found that Iran is in direct violation of international laws related to sovereignty. The research also indicates that diplomatic measures in the past have not resulted in any change in the Iranian occupation of the UAE islands of 'Tumb Al Kubra, Tumb Al Soghra and Abu Musa'. Overall, Iran seems reluctant to relinquish occupation over the islands even though the nation is clearly in violation of international law. The investigation indicates that in the future diplomacy will only be successful if both sides decide they want to resolve the conflict. In addition international players may need to get involved to encourage a diplomatic end to this conflict.
Abed I.A., Hellyer P. United Arab Emirates: a new perspective. Trident Press2001.
Assertion of the UAE. 17 May 2010. Web. n.d.
Facts About the Three Occupied UAE Islands. 17 May 2010. Web. n.d.
Koch, C. "Thomas R. Mattair, the Three Occupied UAE Islands: The Tunbs and Abu Musa" (Abu Dhabi: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, 2005). International journal of Middle East studies 41.1 (2009): 158. Print
Mattair T.R. The Three Occupied UAE Islands: The Tunbs and Abu Musa, by. Abu Dhabi. The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. 2005.
Mobley R.A. The Tunbs and Abu Musa Islands: Britain's Perspective Author(s): Source: Middle East Journal. 57.4 (2003): 627-645.Print
UAE calls again on Iran to end islands "occupation." 17 May 2010. Web. n.d.
UAE Sovereignty Over the Three Islands. 17 May 2010. Web. n.d. http://www.uaeislands.com/UAESovereignty.htm