- - Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TEHRAN — Iran on Tuesday warned the United Arab Emirates it could cut diplomatic relations between the two countries if the Arab nation keeps repeating claims to three Gulf islands that are controlled by Tehran.

Iran took control of the Persian Gulf islands in 1971, after British forces left the region.

The islands — the tiny Abu Musa and the nearby Greater and Lesser Tunbs — dominate the approach to the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply passes.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the U.S. Navy patrol the narrow waterway, which Iran had threatened to choke off in retaliation for tougher Western sanctions over its suspect nuclear program.

Since 1992, the UAE repeatedly has claimed the islands, and last month at the U.N. General Assembly, it said Iran’s “occupation” violates international law.

The news website of Iran’s parliament, ICANA.ir, quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying that Iran will either cut or reduce ties with the UAE if it repeats “anti-Iranian, baseless claims.”

ISRAEL

Activist: Boat en route to Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM — An activist says a boat of pro-Palestinian advocates from eight countries is en route to Gaza in the latest attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade.

Dror Feiler, an Israeli activist onboard, said the boat left Naples on Sunday and aims to reach Gaza in mid-October.

He said Monday the boat is carrying items such as cement, basketballs, musical instruments and theater lighting equipment.

Israel imposed the blockade after Hamas militants seized control of Gaza in 2007.

It eased the closure in 2010 after a naval raid killed nine Turkish activists onboard another Gaza-bound flotilla.

Some restrictions, including the naval blockade, remain in place. Israel says the closure is needed to keep Hamas from obtaining weapons.

Israel has not said whether it will try to stop the boat.

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