ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates has strongly denounced a visit by an Iranian delegation to a group of Persian Gulf islands that are controlled by Tehran, but claimed by the UAE.

A statement Monday called last month’s visit by Iranian lawmakers a “flagrant violation of the sovereignty” of the UAE and a blow to relations with Tehran.

Iran took control of the islands in 1971. The group of islands — Abu Musa and the nearby Greater and Lesser Tunb — dominate the approach to the Strait of Hormuz, the route for about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.

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

Iran rejects the claims.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.