Wall Street Journal: Dubai’s ruler in a BBC interview Monday, said that “everybody will benefit” if the U.S. follows through with a plan to exchange limits on uranium enrichment and regular inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities for a tentative easing of restrictions that have crippled its economy.
The Wall Street Journal
By Asa Fitch
Dubai’s ruler came out in support of lifting sanctions against Iran in a BBC interview Monday, saying that “everybody will benefit” if the U.S. follows through with a plan to exchange limits on uranium enrichment and regular inspection of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities for a tentative easing of restrictions that have crippled its economy.
Dubai figures to be a leading beneficiary if Iran is allowed to operate more freely, given its large Iranian merchant community and commercial ties that date back centuries. The sanctions have erased or redirected billions of dollars in trade: between 2011 and 2012 alone, trade between Dubai and Iran fell from $9.8 billion to $6.8 billion, official customs figures showed.
“Iran is our neighbor, and we don’t want any problem,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum said in the BBC interview.
Sheikh Mohammed’s preference for an easing of sanctions may differ from that of the leadership of Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest of the emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and of other powers in the Gulf that have long seen Iran as a threat. Ruling elites in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi expressed strong suspicion of Iran and its nuclear ambitions in U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. The U.A.E. also has a long-running dispute with Iran over Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, three islands in the Gulf that Iran laid claim to after the British withdrawal from the region in 1971.
Despite the tensions, more recent signs seem to point to a change in approach. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, the U.A.E.’s foreign minister, said in 2010 that he wanted to see a resolution to the diplomatic spat with Iran, which had a right to a peaceful nuclear program.