UAE minister blames Iran for heightened tensions in the region 

UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash gives a press conference in Dubai on May 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 May 2019

UAE minister blames Iran for heightened tensions in the region 

  • Anwar Gargash says attack on oil tankers a 'very serious incident because it affects maritime commerce'
  • 'Iranian behaviour over the last decade or two has led us to where we are today'

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.”

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“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.”


Arab embassies warn citizens after protests erupt in Lebanon

Updated 15 min 21 sec ago

Arab embassies warn citizens after protests erupt in Lebanon

  • Arab embassies called on citizens to take care while in Lebanon

DUBAI/CAIRO: Kuwait’s embassy in Lebanon on Friday asked citizens wishing to travel to Lebanon to wait because of the current protests and unrest.

“The embassy also calls on citizens currently in Lebanon to take utmost care and stay away from crowds and demonstrations,” the Embassy said in its tweet.

Protesters across Lebanon blocked roads with burning tires on Friday and thousands marched in Beirut, calling on the government to resign over an economic crisis.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut also called on its nationals in the country to avoid protest areas, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.

“The embassy calls on all Egyptian citizens in Lebanon to avoid the areas of gatherings and protests, to be careful in their movements and to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese authorities in this regard,” MENA said.