UAE says diplomatic efforts needed for agreement with Iran

A top UAE official on Sunday said Arab Gulf states should take part in “collective diplomacy” to reach an agreement with Iran amid increased tensions between Washington and Tehran. UAE state minister of foreign affairs Anwar Gargash’s statements come following a string of attacks that Washington and its allies blamed on Tehran. Iran denies the allegations.

The animosity between the Islamic republic and the United States has soared since President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and reimposed crippling US sanctions. “When it comes to dealing with Iran, we should not fall for the false choice between the war on the one hand or a flawed (nuclear deal) on the other,” Gargash said.

“This moment requires a renewed, robust and realistic diplomatic effort to reach a more sustainable agreement,” Gargash told a political conference in Abu Dhabi. Garagash said escalation serves no one.

“We strongly believe that there is room for collective diplomacy to succeed,” he said, adding that talks with Iran should involve the international community as well as Arab Gulf states. “Gulf states would need to be at the negotiating table,” he said.

A “meaningful political process” was needed, he said. “For such a process to work, it is essential that the international community is on the same page, especially the US and the EU, as well as the Arab Gulf states.”

A US-led naval coalition officially launched operations in Bahrain Thursday to protect shipping in the troubled waters of the Gulf after a string of attacks that Washington and its allies blamed on Iran. The latest attack was on September 14 against two key Saudi oil installations that temporarily knocked out half of the kingdom’s production.

Iran denied any involvement in the attacks which were claimed by the Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen. The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition battling the Huthis in Yemen.