U.A.E. Vows Restraint After Attacks On Vessels Off Its Coast, Criticizes Iran
May 16, 2019
The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) has vowed to show restraint after attacks on oil tankers off its coast amid complaints that it is being "bullied by Iran."
Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash on May 15 said he would not speculate on who was responsible for the attack on four ships off the coast of the U.A.E., including two Saudi oil tankers.
However, he said that "Iranian behavior" was at the center of problems in the Persian Gulf region, mentioning concern about Iran's missiles and regional policies.
"We have been bullied by Iran. We have seen aggressive Iranian action in the region," he said.
But he added that "we need to emphasize caution and good judgment. It is easy to throw accusations, but it is a difficult situation."
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the May 12 did not cause any casualties or an oil spill but led to significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.
The U.A.E. Foreign Ministry said the four vessels had been targeted by "sabotage operations" off the port city of Fujairah, but it did not directly blame any party.
The incident came amid heightened regional between the United States and Iran, with Washington saying it has received intelligence indicating a possible Iranian attack in the region.
Iran has denied it was involved in the attack on the vessels.
Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are strong allies of the United States in the geopolitical battle against Shi'ite-led Iran in the region.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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