UAE slams Iranian aggression but calls for calm amid oil tanker attack investigation

UAE slams Iranian aggression but calls for calm amid oil tanker attack investigation
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Saudi oil tanker Al-Marzoqah, one of the four tankers damaged in sabotage attacks. (AFP)
UAE slams Iranian aggression but calls for calm amid oil tanker attack investigation
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UAE Navy boats next to Al Marzoqah Saudi Arabia tanker are seen off the Port of Fujairah, UAE May 13, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 16 May 2019

UAE slams Iranian aggression but calls for calm amid oil tanker attack investigation

UAE slams Iranian aggression but calls for calm amid oil tanker attack investigation
  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash says investigation underway
  • Too early to say who is responsible but Iranian behavior central to regional problems

DUBAI: The UAE is “very committed to de-escalation” after the sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah on Sunday, a senior minister said Wednesday.

An investigation is underway and due to be completed within days, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said, refusing to state who was responsible. But speaking in Dubai, he added that “Iranian behavior” was at the center of regional problems.

Though declining to name a suspect in the sabotage, Gargash says “Iranian behavior” is at the center of regional problems.
“We need to emphasize caution and good judgment. It is easy to throw accusations but it is a difficult situation, there are serious issues and among them is Iranian behavior,” he said. “We have been bullied by Iran, we have seen aggressive Iranian action in the region.”

He added that the UAE has handed a letter to the security council on the sabotage of the oil tankers. 

Gargash also talked about the threat from Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, where the UAE is part of a coalition supporting the government against the militants.

On Tuesday, drones attacked two pumping stations on a pipeline running between the country’s east and west coasts.

“We will also retaliate and retaliate hard when we see the Houthis hit civilian targets within Saudi Arabia,” Gargash said.

His comments come as tensions escalate in the region, with the US deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers in response to Iran-related threats. The US and other European countries on Wednesday announced they were scaling back their presence in Iraq where powerful Iran-backed armed groups hold sway.

Ratcheting up the rhetoric, the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major Gen.Hossein Salami, said on Wednesday they were "on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy."