A draft law to be submitted to the Iranian parliament proposes the establishment of a new province with Abu Moussa, one of the three islands disputed with the UAE, as its capital, said a parliament source.
The draft law, which was discussed in the Committee of Municipalities and Internal Policy at the Islamic Consultative Assembly in the Iranian parliament, proposes the establishment of a new province under the name the Persian Gulf Province, said committee member Wally Ismail.
“The province is to include several Iranian islands in the Gulf together with Abu Moussa, which will become the capital,” he told the semi-official Fars News Agency.
The name of the island, Ismail added, might change from the Arabic Abu Moussa to Bu Moussa.
“Abu Moussa is a fake name.”
Ismail added that Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb ─ which have been disputed territories between Iran and the UAE since the withdrawal of the British troops in 1971 ─ will also be included in the new province.
“It will also include other islands like Kish Island, Qeshm Island, and Lavan Island.”
Those islands are inhabited by an Arab majority, commonly referred to as “Arabs of Persia,” and they constitute the second biggest Arab community in Iran after the Khuzestan Province, commonly known as Arabistan.
Talk about the new proposal coincides with National Persian Gulf Day, which falls on April 30. The day, which is one of Iran’s most important national holidays, is meant to fete the Persian identity of the Gulf, contrary to Arab assertions, and is celebrated all over Iran but particularly in cities and provinces overlooking the Gulf whose name has for long been disputed.
The plan to establish the new province comes in the wake of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Abu Moussa which was seen as provocative by Gulf officials and Arab observers.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)