Iran's New Political Flashpoint: Tiny Gulf Island

Ahmadinejad makes push to claim Abu Musa in Persian Gulf
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2012 12:19 PM CDT
Iranian women wave national flags and hold posters showing supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before Ahmadinejad's speech on the island of Abu Musa on April 11.   (AP Photo/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan)

(Newser) – Add the island of Abu Musa to those lands whose location and politics makes their importance far greater than their size. As the New York Times explains, the island is only four square miles, but it happens to sit in the Persian Gulf, and both Iran and the United Arab Emirates lay claim to it. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited last month, discovering that the issue is one of the few that plays exceedingly well for him back home among Iran's middle class.

They're tired of inflation, sanctions, and the president's bluster in general, but on this he has struck political gold. Politicians of all stripes are joining his push for the island. “We Iranians continuously fight and disagree like a husband and wife during a nasty divorce,” says a woman in Tehran. “But when someone tries to take away our child, we team up and face the threat.”

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