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|Monday, 16-Jun-2008 02:15
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ABU MUSA, One of The Iranian Islands of The Persian Gulf
I want to talk about one of the important and crucial matters in our society and among Iranian people , that is very critical for all of the Iranians. These days I have read many messages in the "messages through calls" columns in some newspapers. The importance and how they critically pay attention to the territorial integrity ( even the names of the Islands) is obvious in their sentences and on their eyes.
It's very interesting that, few months ago some Russian high-ranking officials declared that they want to intercede between Iran and Arab Emirates about the Iranian Islands. At the meantime, I believed that they ( Russian high-ranking officials) somehow made a mistake. Because Iranian people haven't forgotten the separation of north provinces of Iran in Caucasia area by the Russians yet; and by turning over the pages of history of Iran we can also remember the dark parts and points of our relations with Russia. I was thinking about these happens, suddenly I saw a message from one of my compatriot that was exactly what I wanted to say with the same contents.
These few pictures are just an excuse and cause for me to write this text for you. It needs just to be Iranian, in order to feel that you are responsible about your country; to protect and maintain it, whether with pen or my camera.
I want to start my trip to Abu Musa Island. That was a long time I wanted to travel there and finally I got an opportunity to see and touch this part of my holy land.We flew Abbas Harbor (Bandar Abbas) from Tehran and stayed at one of the hotels there. Two of my friends and I ( who are Azarbayjanies) relaxed at the hotel. We had time , so we swam at the pool of the hotel and talked about many things, specially about tomorrow morning that we want to go to AbuMusa Island. We were excited.
Early in the morning we quickly woke up and went to the restaurant in order to eat our breakfast as soon as possible. The driver waited to bring us to the airport. We reached the airport early in the morning, I saw many passengers who were waiting for their flight to Abu Musa Island. We can easily recognize them for their face and their physical features, like the color of their skin. We were different from them. As you know we are Azarbayjani (of Iran) and have light color skin, but they have darker skin. You can easily recognize the face and feature of south Islands of Iran on their face. Among the passengers there were families with lots of vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, and other agricultural products, and many boys or girls who are students of universities or high school maybe at the center of the province, were going to visit their families.
It was our turn to receive our pass cards and enter the transit section, in order to take our seats. We traveled by one of the private airlines which is servicing to the far distance areas specially for making the local lives easier.
I was excited during the flight. I was proud when I entered and touched another part of my land that was protected and maintained hardly; that we didn't allow separating this area from Iran although some parts of Iran were separated for the government's and king's bungling leadership. Thanks God that we were successful to maintain and protect it. Our flight took just half an hour and during the flight there was a beautiful azure sea of Persian Gulf (Khalij e Fars) under our feet.
When we got to the airport, we faced with a man who brought us to a clean and suitable Gust house there. We noticed that the next flight to Bandar Abass will be two days later. It was my honor to stay at least two days there. But we had a little time to visit not only all over the Island, but also other Islands near Abu Musa Island in Persian Gulf. So we understood that exactly the day of our entrance , in the afternoon, a ship will move to one of the south harbors. Therefore, in a few hours that we had time to leave the Island, we decided not to waist our time and visit Abu Musa Island. The man who confronted us at the airport willingly accompanied with us and showed us some coastal areas of the Island.
We visited some Iranian small towns. We saw that our Arab friends who are Sharejeies, freely walked along the Iranian small towns,, and bought whatever they need from the Iranian supermarkets.
In this moment, while I was walking along the sea, I liked to write something on the sand of the shore as my habit. I like this moment, I wrote the name of the Island with my own handwriting and took picture which became last for ever ( although the water of the sea washed it very soon). WE returned back to the Lengeh Harbor with one of the yacht and we were confronted by a man who was waiting there for us. We drove fast to Bandar Abass. We stopped at Pool Harbor and went to Gheshm with a ship. The joy of the trip to Abu Musa Island was blazing out of me. I was very happy, because I could take many pictures from the Island and show them to you now. This Island is not a tourist place and is not very vast, in order to take lots of photos for you.
During my trip I understood that the government provide good and welfare facilities for the locals, such as refrigerating chamber for fisheries in order to put their fishes there to prevent them from decay. There is a suitable stadium for the athlete of the locals, and also a suitable airport. Our border guards were settled at some parts of the Island( that all over the world taking photos from them are forbidden).
But why this Island is important and crucial for us. When we read the history of Abu Musa Island, we understood that all of our problems were the cause of profiteering of a country which is far away for thousands of kms, and is located on the coasts of Atlas Ocean. But why does this country that is just a small Island deal with us? For finding the answer of my question. I started to read about the history of this country. I noticed that, as this country was very small and because of its geographical location, it was attacked a lot by many other countries around it.
For a period, it was under the authority of Romans, Vikings, and also Celtic tribes, German and finally dominated by William the Conqueror who was from Nourmandi. This country was poor at mineral resources. But how it could expand its territory from west to east, that the Sun never sunsets in its dominion. It's very obvious. For it was a poor and weak Island, it should appeal to other lands in order to get its welfare. One of those rich countries ( areas) was India. They established a colonial company to provide their benefits and finally made that country one of their colonies. Unfortunately, in that period Iran was governed by an unqualified and bungling kings.
How Englishmen reached Persian Gulf has a detailed history. I briefly explain that they had some business companies at Basrah that exchanged with East Indian Company. But in those times at the south coast of Persian Gulf the Arab tribes made their living by pirating. Dubai was the center and base of pirates. The Britanic Forces attacked and campaigned this area to oppress the pirates and abolish slave ownership ( slavery). So from that time ( 1820) the south coastal part of Persian Gulf and the Sheikdoms ( Emirates) changed to "Moutesalehe Emirates".
Iran didn't have strong and powerful navy ( Naval Force) and in south of Iran at Lengeh harbor the local government was the tributary of Iran. I should mention that the system of tributary was all around Iran and the Qajar's Kings appointed local governments for gathering the taxes. In those times, the Iranian Islands of Persian Gulf were under the government of Lengeh harbor. Gradually, in late 19th century, Iran established Navy Force. Up to the late 19th century, there were no special problems between Iran and England, and even the English officers or agents had accepted the domination of Iran on the Iranian Islands in Persian Gulf. We can refer you to Sir John Melkolm, Captain Haine, Captain Barnes Brucks, Colonel Roberts Taylor, Captain Steefe and Constable, and another important document was the maps of Navy Ministry of Great Britain that was painted on 1883 and reprinted at 1889. In all of the references mentioned above, Iranian Islands were clearly showed by the color that was shown the country of Iran. Sir Denis Write, the Great Britain ambassador in Iran, on 1880 mentioned in his book, which is named " the role of Great Britain in Iran", that " the three Islands, the big and small Tomb Islands, Abu Musa Island, and Siri Island, are all located at Strait of Hormuz and belongs to Iran."
Another crucial and vital documents is the marine map of Persian Gulf which was drawn on 1787 and divided the Islands and harbors of Persian Gulf to 5 parts (sections) (which was talking about the territory of Iran), the small and big Tomb Islands and Abu Musa Islands were mentioned as parts of the territory of Iran and particularly mentioned that they are belonging to Iran.
Another document refers to the map of Persian( Iran) Empire that was drawn by John McDonald Keneyer who was the political consultant of Sir John Melkolm, which indexed by the second edition of Sir Melkolm's report under the title of " the geographical notes about the Iran's borders and frontiers" on 1830 published the three Islands of "the small and big Tomb and Abu Musa Islands" with the same black and white color of Iran.
Another document refers to the map of Captain Gorge Barnes Brucks on 1830.
There are lots of documents which show and approve the domination of Iran on these Islands, but I believe that mentioning all of the documents will make my viewers bored. But each of them is very critical and vital. I should mention another document that refers to a map which was drawn by Defense Ministry of Great Britain on 1886 and again the three Iranian Islands( the small and big Tomb and Abu Musa Islands) were shown with the same color of Iran Land. This map was drawn by the order of Lord SalisBori, the Britain Foreign Minister. This map was brought with the special ceremony under the title of the letter number 64 on 12th June 1888 to Tehran by Sir Raymond Wolf, the ambassador of Great Britain in Iran, and delivered to the King of Qajar, Nasser-eDin Shah. Another copy of that map was delivered to the United States of America. There are lots of such documents.
But Why did Britain decide to improve and expand his influence on Persian Gulf? According to European history on 19th century, we recognize that the new governments such as Germany became one of the opponents of Britain, although German didn't have any colonies in this area, and tried to have economic influence on Ottoman Empire and Persian Gulf, on the other hand; so this made England to fear and feel the risk in his colonies. In the meantime, the government of Qajar leaned to Russia ,so the Great Britain should make itself ready to protect India and Persian Gulf area. As Iran made a very small Navy Force itself, England started to act. On 1904, Abu Musa Island and in 1908 the two Islands ( the small and big Tomb) were occupied by England Forces. Not only those three Islands, but also other Islands such as Hengam and west of Qeshm Island at the area which is called " Basaido" were occupied by English Forces. They made military sections(bases) in " Basaido " harbor. If you return back to my archive, you can find the cemetery of the British aggressors in " Basaido " harbor. They also attacked "Buoshehr" harbor, but Iranians acted bravely by the leadership of " Reeis Ali Delvari" and the British Forces tasted the Iranian resistance.
During the years of occupation, the Qajar government objected many times for the occupation of those Islands, but as they were very weak, they couldn't reach their goal. After Qajar dynasty, in "Pahlavi period", Reza Shah, the king of Iran, objected and protested many times through many letters to the England government, and sometimes he physically protested in order to return those Islands back. Finally the Iranian Forces could send out ( evict) the English aggressors from " Basaido " harbor, and control the "Siri" Island. At the meantime England tried to cause disagreement among the other countries ( as it do its policy nowadays and doesn't change its trend, but in a different manner, because of its lack of mineral resources and ecological conditions). For example it insisted that the tribes on south parts of Persian Gulf should flutter their flags in the south Islands. Although those Sheikdoms(Emirates) were not tend to do that, England extremely tended to do that. Nowadays we can clearly understand the goal of Britain( that is not finished yet). Iran never accepted the occupation of its land and finally the British government decided to change its colonial trend, and follow new approach that doesn't need any military Forces; but it should leave Persian Gulf at the end of November 1971. It didn't accept to leave the occupied Islands, but for the diplomacy of the Iran government and Iranian extreme efforts( attempts), it compelled and forced to leave the Islands and the Persian Gulf area.
Although the Abu Musa Island is completely Iranian, Britishes used discharmony as their last weapon.
The Iran government( in Pahlavi dynasty) concluded the peace treaty with Sharejeh Sheikdoms( Emirates); in this peace treaty the Sharejeh flag remained on the police station( guardhouse), and Arabic village will be settled by Arabs and governed by Sharejeh Sheikdom, and other parts of the Island became under the control of Iranian army and Iranian flag will be fluttered all over the Island.
On November 30th 1971, Iranian Forces without any problems and by obeying their peace treaty with Sharejeh Sheikdom return back to their "holy land"; and the Iran territorial sovereignty restored (restituted) again, and the flag of Iran fluttered on top of the "Halva" mountain again. In Abu Musa Island Sheikh "Safar", Sheikh "Khaled's" brother, the governor of Sharejeh, with a group welcome Iranian Forces. They met Commodore "Atayi", the governor of the harbors, and. "Sheikh Safar" with a group went to the ship (vessel) of supreme Command, Artmis, in order to meet General Commodore " Rassayi" who was the Commander of Iran Navy Force. While the Iranian Forces entering the two Islands of " the small and the big Tomb", the "Ra'soul Kheymeh Sheikdom" Forces defended against the Iranians ( the British Forces appointed them). So during this attack three of Iranian Forces were martyred. May be it will be interesting for you to remind you that the person who shoot to the Iranian Forces and killed them was from south Yemen, and at the same time, the Iraqi and south Yemen Forces were trying to cause a riot( instigate a revolt).
Finally this part of "our holy Land" rescued, returned back to its motherland's bosom, and faced with a different fate from those north parts of Iran in Caucasia area.
According to the Iran diplomacy, some hard-line Arab countries like Iraq, south Yemen, and Libya defended against the Iranian restoration (restitution) of governing their land. So they outreached the matter to the United Nation's Security Council, and although those Islands were the Iranian rights, during an unended session finished the matter without any result.
There was no problem up to 1992. But after the Arab Emirates sent some of the citizens of other nations, who are not from Arab Emirates, to the Abu Musa Island. Although there were just 200 students in the Arabic village, they sent more than 100 teachers( who claimed that they were teachers). The intellectual and watchful people of Iran ( the natives) and the government resisted against their plots and those so-called teachers returned back to Emirates.
Iran government said that the citizens of other countries except Sharejeh should have Visa to enter this Island. The government of Emirates who were looking for such a propagandistic subject( topic), invited the news agencies in order to take pictures and videos about the return of those so-called teachers and pretending that the Iranian officials even didn't feed them. You can search on the Internet and find those oppressed like photos repeatedly. But finally they couldn't do anything and the riot brought to an end.
There is a very important point in this history, that is our Emirates friends should know that the relation between Iran and their country has more benefits for them rather than us. For instance when we drive along the south roads of Iran, we can see many trailers which are carrying the second hand cars of Emirates to the middle Asian countries., and actually our roads and highways are the critical artery of their economics. But unfortunately sometimes they forget these points. The Sheikdoms who built the glassy palaces near the desert, the continuation of their lives need security and without any securities it wouldn't be possible. Our country (the Holy Land of Iran) wants security, because security is our profits.
And the last point is why these Islands are very important for us and even it is as important as Tehran… The Persian Gulf is shallow and the deepest part is about 300 feet,that is around the two Islands of the small and the big Tomb Islands and Abu Musa Island. We should bear in mind that the main part of our exportation is oil and the loading of the oil make the tankers heavy and the only way for the passage of those oil tankers is through the Khark Island( that is the wayis located between the three Islands, the small Tonb Island, the big Tonb Island, and Abou Musa Island). And surely these Islands are the main and critical artery of our security. It is obvious that why the Iranian people are very sensible about this delicate subject.
Finally I want to say that the small Tonb Island, the big Tonb Island, and Abu Musa Island are parts of the south archipelago of Iran that are in the direction of Zagrous Mountains which is originated to the Iran Plateau. The distance between the Tonb Islands and Iran coastline is just 15 miles, while the distance between these Islands and Ra'asoul Kheyme is about 50 miles. There are lots of reasons, but there is no time to explain all of them.
I hope that our Arab Friends understand that our friendship is better than fallowing the dividing plans of that Island country at the coast of Atlas Ocean.