UAE foreign minister: Peace deal with Israel is not about Iran

UAE foreign minister rejects Iranian condemnation of peace deal with Israel, slams Turkish leader’s criticism as “double standard.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday dismissed Iranian and Turkish condemnation of the UAE-Israel peace deal, saying it had nothing to do with the Arabs countering Iranian threats in the Gulf.

“This is not about Iran. This is about the UAE, Israel and the United States,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Bloomberg News. “This is in no way meant to create some sort of grouping against Iran.”

Over the weekend, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned last week’s historic announcement by President Trump that the UAE and Israel would sign a peace deal at the White House in the coming weeks.

Rouhani called the UAE move a “treacherous act” that would give Israel a foothold in the Gulf region and warned that “the UAE has turned itself into a legitimate target for the resistance.”

Gargash rejected suggestions that his country’s recognition of Israel had anything to do with provoking or isolating Iran.

“We have a very complicated relationship with Iran,” Gargash said. “While we have our concerns, we feel also that resolving these issues should be through diplomacy and de-escalation.”

After Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the UAE for the deal and threatened to withdraw Turkey’s ambassador, Gargash fired back at what he called Erdogan’s “double standard” because Turkey itself has diplomatic relations and close economic ties with Israel.

“They [Turkey] receive over half a million Israeli tourists, have $2 billion worth of bilateral trade and an existing embassy there. And I ask myself whether this is a principled position or not,” Gargash said.

Gargash also pointed out that Israel’s agreement to suspend the promised move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apply Israeli sovereignty to settlements played a major part of the deal.

“We have been very concerned with the issue of annexation,” Gargash said. “Through this imaginative proclamation, we have at least been able to give negotiations space.”