Abu Musa

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Abu Musa
Disputed island
Other names:
Strait of Hormuz.jpg
Abu Musa Island in the Persian Gulf
Geography
Iran location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location Persian Gulf
Coordinates 25°52′N55°02′E / 25.867°N 55.033°E / 25.867; 55.033
Total islands1
Area12.8 km2 (4.9 sq mi)
Highest point
  • Mount Halva
  • 110 m (360 ft)
Administered by
Flag of Iran.svg Iran
Province Hormozgan
Largest cityAbu Musa (1,953)
Claimed by
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg United Arab Emirates
Emirate Sharjah
Demographics
Population2,131 (as of 2012)
Density166/km²
Abū Mūsá Lighthouse
Iran relief location map.jpg
Lighthouse icon centered.svg
Location Abu Musa, Iran OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Coordinates 25°53′06.5″N55°02′02.2″E / 25.885139°N 55.033944°E / 25.885139; 55.033944
Constructionmasonry tower
Tower shapesquare short tower atop building
Focal height130 metres (430 ft)
Range9 nautical miles (17 km; 10 mi)
Characteristic Fl W 8s.
Admiralty numberD7706
NGA number28744 [1] [2]
A map dated 1891 showing Abu Musa. Strait of hormuz.jpg
A map dated 1891 showing Abu Musa.

Abu Musa (Persian : ابوموسی Loudspeaker.svg listen  , Arabic : أبو موسى) is a 12.8-square-kilometre (4.9 sq mi) island in the eastern Persian Gulf near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz. [3] Due to the depth of sea, oil tankers and big ships have to pass between Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunbs; this makes these islands some of the most strategic points in the Persian Gulf. [4] The island is administered by Iran as part of its province of Hormozgan, but is also claimed by the United Arab Emirates as a territory of the emirate of Sharjah. [5] [6]

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. It is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajiki Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of Cyrillic.

Island Any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water

An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines.

Contents

Name

Iranian Abu Musa's inhabitants call it "Gap-sabzu" (Persian : گپ‌سبزو), which in Persian means "the great green place."[ citation needed ] On old Persian maps, the island is called:

However, in recent centuries it has also been called Bum Musa, Persian for "the land of Musa/Moses," instead of "Boum-Sou". [8]

Moses person, mentioned in the Torah (Pentateuch) and in the Quran, who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to Canaan

Moses was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person, while retaining the possibility that a Moses-like figure existed.

Arabs claim that the name "Abu Musa" (Arabic : أبو موسى) comes from Abu Musa Ashaari, a companion of Prophet Muhammad, who stayed on the island in 643 A.D before battling the Persians. [9] [10]

Geography

Abu Musa island is located 70 kilometres (43 mi) south of Bandar-e Shenas and 65 kilometres (40 mi) north-northwest of Sharjah. Out of 14 islands of Hormozgan it is the island farthest from the Iranian coast. Its highest point is the 110-metre (360 ft) Mount Halva. [11] Abu Musa city is the center of the island. The weather in Abu Musa is warm and humid, although, compared to the place in the Persian Gulf, Abu Musa has a better climate and the most diverse ecosystem, but it lacks suitable soil and water for farming leaving fishing as the main industry for locals.

Bandar-e Shenas village in Hormozgan, Iran

Bandar-e Shenas is a village in Moghuyeh Rural District, in the Central District of Bandar Lengeh County, Hormozgan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 1,631, in 274 families.

Persian Gulf An arm of the Indian Ocean in western Asia

The Persian Gulf is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest. The Shatt al-Arab river delta forms the northwest shoreline.

Ecosystem A community of living organisms together with the nonliving components of their environment

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the system through photosynthesis and is incorporated into plant tissue. By feeding on plants and on one-another, animals play an important role in the movement of matter and energy through the system. They also influence the quantity of plant and microbial biomass present. By breaking down dead organic matter, decomposers release carbon back to the atmosphere and facilitate nutrient cycling by converting nutrients stored in dead biomass back to a form that can be readily used by plants and other microbes.

History

Abu Musa and other islands in the Persian gulf in a map by Adolf Stieler Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunbs in Iran and Turan Map by Adolf Stieler map 1891.JPG
Abu Musa and other islands in the Persian gulf in a map by Adolf Stieler

The sovereignty of Iran on Abu Musa has been disputed by UAE, which inherited the dispute in 1971. [12] [13] By common consent, the island had been under the control of the Qasimi ruler of Sharjah [14] [15] In 1906, the uncle of Sharjah's ruler awarded a concession for the iron oxide deposits of Abu Musa to three Arabs, whose workers extracted the mineral and agreed to sell it to Wonckhaus, a German enterprise. However, when the ruler discovered this, he cancelled the concession and the workers were removed from the island with assistance from the British, resulting in an international incident. [16] [17]

After 1908, the UK controlled the island along with the other British-held islands in the Persian Gulf, including what is today the UAE. In the late 1960s, the UK transferred administration of the island to the British-appointed Sharjah, one of the seven sheikdoms that would later form the UAE.

After the UK announced in 1968 that it would end its administrative and military positions in the Persian Gulf, Iran moved to reattach the island politically to the mainland. On 30 November 1971 (two days before the official establishment of UAE), Iran and Sharjah signed a Memorandum of Understanding. They agreed to allow Sharjah to have a local police station and Iran to station troops on the island according to the map attached to the Memorandum of Understanding. [15] The agreement also divided the island's energy resources between the two signatories. "By agreeing to the pact, the tiny emirate prevented an invasion by Iran, which two days earlier had taken two other disputed islands, the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, which were even smaller and uninhabited." [18]

Sheikh Saqer welcoming Iranian troops of Iran's destroyer Artemiz in Abu Musa, 1971 SheikSaghar.jpg
Sheikh Saqer welcoming Iranian troops of Iran's destroyer Artemiz in Abu Musa, 1971

One day before the UK officially left the region, Iran stationed its troops on the island and was officially welcomed by the Sheik of Sharjah's brother; Sheik Saqer. [19]

The UAE took its sovereignty claim over Abu Musa and the two Tunb islands to 9 December 1971 meeting of the United Nations Security Council. At that meeting, it was decided to "defer consideration of this matter to a later date". [20] [21] Iraq (Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr era), [22] Kuwait, [23] Algeria, [24] South Yemen [24] and Libya [24] held the view that the territory rightfully belongs to the UAE. [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] Since that time, the UAE has consistently called in public statements [21] [30] for either bilateral negotiations or by referring the issue to the International Court of Justice (or another form of international arbitration). [31]

Saddam Hussein attempted to justify the Iran–Iraq War by claiming that one of the objectives was to "liberate" Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the Persian Gulf. In 1992, Iran expelled foreign workers who operated the UAE-sponsored school, medical clinic, and power-generating station. [32] The Island dispute has also caused serious friction between Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah on one hand and some other emirates of the UAE on the other hand. Ras Al Khaimah advocates tough measures against Iran. Dubai, on the other hand, believes that the conflict is unnecessary. The present ruler of Dubai (who is also Vice President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the UAE), Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has earlier stated publicly that "he believes the tensions over the islands have been fabricated by the United States". [33]

In 2012 a visit to the island by Iranian president Ahmedinejad provoked a diplomatic incident. [34] Iran's historical claim to ownership over the islands roots back to the Parthian and Sassanid Empires, among others. [35] Iran considers the island to have been occupied by the UK and refers to the agreement between Iran and the emirate of Sharjah in 1971. [15]

Demographics

As of 2012, the island had about 2,131 inhabitants, making it Iran's smallest county. [36] The city of Abu Musa had 1,953 inhabitants in 2012, up 248 from 2006. [37]

Most of the residents of the island speak the "Bandari" dialect of Persian.[ citation needed ]

Native UAE citizens living on the island allegedly face “great difficulties” with the lack of proper clinics and schools. Only one school exists on the island, [38] and it is used by 150 students. [39] Moreover, patients have to be transported to Sharjah to receive treatment, but that is sometimes not feasible because of the Iranian authorities. [39] In addition, Iran allegedly delays or blocks UAE's school and medical supplies from entering the island. [39]

Climate

Climate data for Jazireh Abu Musa (1984–2010)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)27.8
(82.0)
29.5
(85.1)
36.0
(96.8)
39.6
(103.3)
41.8
(107.2)
42.0
(107.6)
45.0
(113.0)
41.4
(106.5)
43.0
(109.4)
43.0
(109.4)
35.0
(95.0)
30.0
(86.0)
45.0
(113.0)
Average high °C (°F)23.0
(73.4)
23.9
(75.0)
25.5
(77.9)
28.9
(84.0)
32.5
(90.5)
34.5
(94.1)
36.3
(97.3)
36.7
(98.1)
35.4
(95.7)
33.2
(91.8)
29.6
(85.3)
25.4
(77.7)
30.4
(86.7)
Daily mean °C (°F)20.5
(68.9)
21.0
(69.8)
22.9
(73.2)
26.0
(78.8)
29.5
(85.1)
31.6
(88.9)
33.5
(92.3)
33.7
(92.7)
32.3
(90.1)
30.0
(86.0)
26.6
(79.9)
22.7
(72.9)
27.5
(81.5)
Average low °C (°F)18.0
(64.4)
18.5
(65.3)
20.3
(68.5)
23.1
(73.6)
26.5
(79.7)
28.8
(83.8)
30.6
(87.1)
30.8
(87.4)
29.2
(84.6)
26.8
(80.2)
23.7
(74.7)
20.0
(68.0)
24.7
(76.5)
Record low °C (°F)11.0
(51.8)
8.0
(46.4)
11.6
(52.9)
15.8
(60.4)
19.2
(66.6)
23.4
(74.1)
26.2
(79.2)
26.8
(80.2)
24.0
(75.2)
19.0
(66.2)
17.0
(62.6)
11.0
(51.8)
8.0
(46.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches)30.0
(1.18)
20.1
(0.79)
28.1
(1.11)
6.8
(0.27)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.2
(0.01)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
1.6
(0.06)
5.8
(0.23)
33.7
(1.33)
126.3
(4.97)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)2.41.92.30.70.00.00.00.00.00.10.82.811.0
Average relative humidity (%)61666971727471706965606296
Mean monthly sunshine hours 227.4225.9231.6267.4312.4315.8284.7294.5280.5293.9263.4228.93,226.4
Source: Iran Meteorological Organization (records), [40] (temperatures), [41] (precipitation), [42] (humidity), [43] (days with precipitation), [44]

(sunshine) [45]

See also

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Sources

Further reading

Coordinates: 25°52′N55°02′E / 25.867°N 55.033°E / 25.867; 55.033