LONDON: Iranian behavior has led to the current heightened tensions in the region, a UAE minister has said, reiterating comments made earlier this week.
In an interview with CNN aired Thursday, Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said a sabotage attack against four oil tankers off the Emirates’ coast had come at a “sensitive and difficult period in the region.”:
@AnwarGargash tells @BeckyCNN the @UAE is investigating recent incidents in the Gulf alongside France and the U.S. and calls for dealing with things in a "mature, rational" way. #Iran pic.twitter.com/onQFm9zQnd— Connect the World (@CNNConnect) May 16, 2019
“We are where we are largely because of Iran behaviour,” Gargash said. “This is a behaviour that is not new to the region. This is a behaviour 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 behaviour over the last decade or two has led us to where we are today,” he said. “There’s very little trust in the region.”