Iran on Thursday seized a ship belonging to the UAE after signs of warming ties among the two countries gave way to fresh tension, with both sides accusing each other of violating their territorial waters.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said it had summoned the UAE envoy in Tehran after the Emirati coast guards opened fire at Iranian fishermen in the Gulf, killing two.
In a statement, the ministry said it had expressed strong opposition over the incident and communicated its protest to the envoy on Tuesday, a day after the incident took place.
Iranian officials claim that the Emirati coast guards had detained the Iranian fishermen and seized one of the vessels.
Tehran has asked the UAE to at once release the seized boat and fishermen. It also demanded the bodies of the two slain fishermen and compensation.
Reports in the Emirati media said the Iranian vessels had “illegally entered” UAE territorial waters near Sir Bu Nair Island in the Persian Gulf.
In a retaliatory move, Iran in turn seized a UAE ship on Monday and detained its crew, accusing them of illegally entering Iran’s territorial waters.
Tensions between the two countries have been escalating since Iran’s protest over the UAE’s normalization of ties last week with Israel, whom Iran considers an “illegitimate entity.”
Last week, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani slammed Abu Dhabi for its controversial deal with Tel Aviv, warning the Gulf country against allowing Israel to “gain a foothold in the region.”
“We warn them against bringing Israel to the region,” he said. “That would be a different story and they will be dealt accordingly.”
The official recognition of Israel by the UAE, experts say, is likely to have “serious implications” on Iran-UAE ties, which had seen significant progress over the past year.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, held a video conference a week before the UAE-Israel deal, reaffirming commitment to improve bilateral ties.
Zarif termed the UAE-Israel agreement “a stab on the back of the regional countries.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said the “strategic folly” of the Emirati government would “strengthen the resistance axis” and “enhance unity and solidarity” against the Israeli regime.
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