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Iranian-UAE spat over ship inspections

Iranian-UAE spat over ship inspections

Tehran: Tensions in the Persian Gulf over Iran's nuclear programme are escalating over the issue of ship inspections. In an open letter to the New York Times dated September 16, the UAE's ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba said the UAE had "interdicted dozens of ships and inspected hundreds of shipments of Iran-bound cargos suspected of violating sanctions, and [had] coordinated closely with American and international authorities to share intelligence and to stop and seize sensitive transshipments."

Iran's top naval commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari reacted angrily earlier this week [Sunday] to the UAE ambassador's comments, saying "we will never allow such a country to inspect our ships," and calling al-Otaiba's words propaganda.
"The naval force of Iranian army is prepared to defend the country's interests in all [Iranian territorial] waters," Mehr News Agency quoted Sayyari as saying.

Iran's Press TV said that recent "US-engineered" UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Tehran gave countries the authority to inspect cargo ships, heading to or from Iran, in their own territorial waters.

It quoted Sayyari as warning that Iran was prepared to retaliate if its cargo ships come under inspection, and would do so whenever necessary.  [29/09/10]