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How will Iran populate the islands in the Strait of Hormuz that the UAE also claims? | Political news

Tehran, Iran – Iran is implementing plans to increase the population of islands in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, also claimed by the United Arab Emirates.

Iranian officials have for months discussed plans to increase the number of Iranian residents on the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which are at the heart of a decades-long conflict with Iran’s southern neighbor. Iran, United Arab Emirates.

How will Iran populate the islands?

On the one hand, it could offer Iranians planning to settle there free plots of 300 square meters (3,230 square feet).

It will also offer them loans to build housing, as part of a national home ownership program.

The government will also exempt the islands from a condition applied in the rest of the country: applicants must not have used government housing since the 1979 revolution and must not have any other accommodation under their belt.

Now, applicants can begin building homes on the islands, as well as several others in the same waters, if they commit to living there.

How many people can settle on small islands?

In addition to the project’s appeal as a living option with free land, families could be tempted by a decree adopted in early August that exempts a male member of the family from compulsory military service if the family agrees to live on an island for 12 years.

Hossein Dastourizadeh, a senior police official in the southern province of Hormozgan, told local media earlier this month that families who have committed to staying on the islands for a long period will be entitled to an exemption from conscription for the father or one of the sons.

Abu Musa, which is the largest of the three disputed islands, has a total area of ​​around 25 square kilometers (9.6 square miles), according to local media, with around 520,000 residential plots to be demarcated and allocated to eligible applicants. .

Given the average Iranian family size of 3.3 people, the island’s population could potentially reach a whopping 1.7 million people, which is far more than the few thousand people there currently live.

(Al Jazeera)

Why are islands important?

Abu Musa is located about 75 km (46 miles) from the Iranian mainland and, along with other nearby islands, is considered crucial to the country’s maritime defense in the busy Strait of Hormuz, where both oil tankers pass and warships.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian military have a presence on Abu Musa and the other islands, but there is no publicly available information on its exact extent.

Alireza Tangsiri, commander of the IRGC navy, told media earlier this year that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had personally ordered efforts to increase the islands’ population to increase their security.

“When the senior establishment official says we need to prepare the place for people to live, that means we rely on the people to keep the area safe,” he said.

What is the UAE’s claim to the islands?

Earlier this week, Ali Akbar Velayati, one of the supreme leader’s top foreign policy advisers, told Al Jazeera that the UAE would risk “destabilizing the security of the region” if it persisted in claiming sovereignty on the islands.

The three disputed islands have been under Iran’s control since 1971, when the country’s then shah sent the royal navy there following the withdrawal of British forces.

Emirati leaders have since declared ownership of the islands and have been supported in their claim by other Arab countries.

Iran strongly rejects this claim and has said it will not enter into any negotiations over their property.

China and Russia signed separate joint statements with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) last year challenging Iran’s rights to the islands.

Both men had also attempted to maintain close relations with Tehran, but in response to these statements, Iran summoned its envoys to Tehran, which is rare, to express its displeasure.

In August, Iran also launched a series of military exercises on the islands, using planes, missiles, vehicles and troops to show its willingness to defend its territory.

The IRGC then said it had positioned missile defense systems and anti-aircraft weapons on the islands and displayed a new ship armed with missiles with a range of up to 600 km (372 miles).

“The islands of the Persian Gulf are the honor of the great nation of Islamic Iran, and as children of this brave nation, we have a duty to defend our honor,” Tangsiri of the IRGC had said.


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