UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash gives a press conference in Dubai on May 15, 2019. (AFP)
CAIRO – 19 May 2019: UAE Minister of State for Foreign AffairsAnwar Gargash has stressed Iranian behavior has led to the current heightened tensions in the region.
The minister’s remarks came during an interview with CNN aired Thursday.
He said a sabotage attack against four oil tankers off the Emirates’ coast had come at a “sensitive and difficult period in the region.”
“We are where we are largely because of Iran behaviour,” Gargash said. “This is a behavior that is not new to the region. This is a behavior that has been basically compiling and clearly right now that – American sanctions on Iran are biting.”
The attacks on the tankers came amid escalating rhetoric between the US and it Gulf allies on one side and Iran on the other. The US has deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf in response to an unspecified Iranian threat.
Saudi Arabia said Iran-backed Houthi rebels on Tuesday attacked an oil pipeline in the Kingdom with drones.
The investigations into the tanker attack were on going, Gargash said, adding that in a few days “we should know what took place.”
“We are collaborating with France, and the United States, and other friends are also offering their help,” he said. “Clearly this is a very, very serious incident because it affects maritime commerce, and it comes also at a very very, what I would call a very sensitive and difficult period in the region.”
The minister said all parties have an interest in deescalating the situation and “dealing with things in a mature, rational way.”
But he added the onus was on Iran, not Washington, to deescalate the situation.
“Iranian behavior over the last decade or two has led us to where we are today,” he said. “There’s very little trust in the region.”