Iran's foreign ministry summons Chinese ambassador in Tehran over Gulf Islands

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's foreign ministry has summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tehran to protest about a China-UAE statement related to Iran's sovereignty over three Islands also claimed by the UAE, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.

The islands - Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb - are claimed by both countries but have been held by Iran since 1971, shortly before the seven Gulf emirates gained full independence from Britain and formed the UAE, which is now allied with Washington.

"Iran's objection to the Chinese support of baseless claims in a shared UAE-China statement has been expressed to the Chinese ambassador in Tehran," state media said.

China has been one of Iran's biggest trading partners for the past decade.

"Iran's foreign ministry emphasises that the three Islands are an eternal part of the country's soil and we expect China to mend its position on the issue", state media added.

(Reporting by Elwely Elwelly; Editing by Hugh Lawson)