Onus on Iran to reduce tensions

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Onus on Iran to reduce tensions

In an interview to CNN, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash says Iran has been a disruptive force in the region.

By Becky Anderson

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Published: Fri 17 May 2019, 8:41 PM

Last updated: Fri 17 May 2019, 10:46 PM

There are those that worry that the UAE's intervention in Yemen provides, to a certain extent, an excuse for Iran exacerbating the threat from Iran, rather than reducing it, your response?
Four years ago, it was the Houthi coup against the government of Yemen that led to the Arab intervention in Yemen which we are part of. I think right now, we have a very hopeful sign in Yemen. Imperfect, I have to admit, difficult, I have to admit. But again, we have a sign with the Stockholm Agreement. We have managed a deal on the pull-out in Hodeidah. But here the onus is on the UN to ensure that this pull-out is genuine, that there will be no snap-back by the Houthis. I think it is in our common interest to move from a military phase of the confrontation to a political phase. It doesn't help when the Houthis after agreeing to deal with the UN after four months of procrastination to try and target civilian installations inside the region. So clearly, there is very little trust in the Houthis. How can you, on one day attempt peace your way, and only four days later augment options of war?
On the incident in which Saudi and other tankers were sabotaged.
We are currently investigating. We are collaborating with France, and the United States and other friends who are also offering their help. So, in a few days we should know what took place, what transpired. 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. So clearly, we all have an interest in deescalation and dealing with things in a mature, rational way.
You're talking about de-escalating the rhetoric with Iran...
I think this whole situation is difficult. This is a behaviour that is not new to the region. American sanctions on Iran are biting.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that he fundamentally doesn't want a war with Iran but if provoked or if US interests in the Middle East are attacked, they would respond. Are you tonight urging Washington to act with a degree of caution and restraint? We are seeing an escalation - are you concerned?
I think the onus is on Iran. The onus is on Iran. Iran is the government that is responsible for where we are today. Iranian behaviour over the last decade or two has led us to where we are today. There's very little trust in the region. I don't think the onus right now is mainly on Washington. I think it's on Iran.
You talked a lot about what the Iranians should do. I wonder though what your position is so far as what Washington should do next. Certainly, the US and the Europeans at present are disunited. Does that worry, and once again, I wonder if this urging of caution should not be to Washington.
I think that the important thing is for the West to be more united. It concerns us when we see that the West is speaking about different approaches. I think all these countries that you have mentioned agree that there is a problem with Iran's behaviour. I think the disagreement is over the approach. I think there is agreement across the board that Iran has been a disruptive force.

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