Russia’s geopolitical balancing act between Iran and the UAE

Russia's geopolitical balancing act between Iran and the UAE

Russia’s geopolitical balancing act between Iran and the UAE. Kremlin has to keep up excellent ties with its two main allies in order to carry on with its assault against Ukraine: Iran for drone delivery and the United Arab Emirates for evading sanctions.

The three islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb are difficult for most people to find on a Middle Eastern map. Nonetheless, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, who have asserted sovereignty over them since 1971, are engaged in a diplomatic stalemate over them. The three strategically important islands near the Persian Gulf’s entrance were ordered to be occupied by the Iranian army that year by the Shah of Iran. Two days prior to the Emirates’ declaration of independence, which followed their two-day period of British protectorate, the action was taken.

With the army and Revolutionary Guards present, the Islamic Republic of Iran strengthened its hold on the three heavily defended islands when Ayatollah Khomeini toppled the Shah in 1979. The UAE is still defending its claims to the three islands, though. Recently, they unexpectedly gained help from Russia, whose assault against Ukraine heavily relies on Iranian drones.

The Kremlin’s delicate balance

Russia supported “the initiative of the UAE and its efforts to reach a peaceful solution” to the dispute over Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs after hosting a “strategic dialogue” with the Gulf Cooperation Council in July. The Islamic Republic has openly emphasized how dissatisfied it is with this kind of threat to Iran’s sovereignty over these three islands.



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