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Ahmadinejad's visit to island prompts UAE to recall Iran ambassador

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Thu April 12, 2012
(file photo) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the disputed island of Abu Mousa in the Persian Gulf.
(file photo) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the disputed island of Abu Mousa in the Persian Gulf.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the disputed island of Abu Mousa
  • UAE foreign minister described the visit as a "flagrant violation'' of his country's sovereignty
  • The UAE and Iran are involved in a long-running dispute over three Persian Gulf islands

Abu Dhabi (CNN) -- The UAE recalled its ambassador to Iran on Thursday in protest of a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a disputed island.

Abu Mousa is one of three Persian Gulf islands that are the subject of a longtime border dispute between the two countries.

The UAE's Foreign Ministry said it was summoning Tehran envoy Saif Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi for consultations.

The move comes a day after Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed condemned Ahmadinejad's visit to Abu Mousa "in the strongest possible terms," according to a report by state news agency WAM.

The UAE says Iran has illegally occupied Abu Mousa since 1971. The two other disputed islands are the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.

The foreign minister described the visit as a "flagrant violation'' of UAE sovereignty and said it was a setback to efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the issue, WAM reported.

Ahmadinejad used his visit to Abu Mousa to comment on the historical basis for the Persian Gulf's name, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA. Arab states refer to the body of water as the Arabian Gulf.

Iran views the islands as part of its territory.

CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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