Iran reiterates sovereignty over Abu Musa Island
News Code: 80176250 (0) Publish Date : 21/03/1391 -
Tehran, June 10, IRNA -- Iranian Parliament has reiterated Iran's
sovereignty over Abu Musa Island considering the historical ownership of the
Islands in the Persian Gulf.
There have been reports of large oil deposits under Abu Musa. Moreover, Iran
has expressed displeasure with the amount of oil that it receives from the
small, offshore oil field.
Control of Abu Musa could also directly affect shipping. All of Iranian oil
tanker traffic must pass through this area; making the security of the area
very important. Iranian sovereignty over the islands reassures free
navigation through the Strait of Hormuz.
Abu Musa lies at the mouth of the narrow Strait of Hormuz, through which a
fifth of the world's oil supplies pass. About 15 million barrels of oil per
day (bpd) -- equivalent to Europe's daily consumption -- pass through the
mouth of the Persian Gulf in tankers.
Any blockade of this strategic Strait would restrict supplies to consumers
in Asia, Europe, and the US.
Japan, which gets more than 70 percent of its oil from the Persian Gulf, and
the US, which takes 1.6 million bpd from Middle East states, would be more
sensitive than others to such a blockade.
During the Tanker War in the Persian Gulf in the 1980s, Iran made
considerable use of Abu Musa. Small craft and helicopters were stationed
there in order to control the waterway, and several Silkworm anti-ship
missile sites were built on the island.
Iran has recently purchased three Russian Kilo- class submarines, and two of
them have been delivered. In addition, Iran has also purchased five
Chinese-made fast-attack patrol boats of the "Huodong" class.
Iran has intensified naval exercises over the past two to three years that
included several scenarios focusing on closure of the Strait.
Iran's recent actions may not demonstrate a desire to take control of the
Strait. Harold Hough, of Jane's Intelligence Review, states that "the
military build-up is part of a greater move by Iran to spread its influence
in the Persian Gulf rather than an attempt to solidify its hold on the
Abu Musa gives Iran a base for projecting its power and influence south
toward the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council.
Control of Abu Musa also gives extra protection to Bandar Abbas, an Iranian
port important for its oil industry and military base.
According to Hough, "If Iran wanted to deny the waterway to the US Navy,
missile sites near Bandar Abbas would be more valuable since they are on the
Iranian mainland and the US would be less willing to attack them for both
political and military reasons."
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 1020552