Dubai: The growing conflict between the West and Iran could threaten the UAE both in terms of security and trade, a senior official said yesterday.
"We are standing between two fires — threats from the Americans and threats from the Iranians. Hopefully, there won't be any conflict, as this would negatively affect other countries as well and not just us," said Saeed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Deputy Commander of the UAE Naval Forces, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a maritime security conference being held in Abu Dhabi.
The future of the Strait of Hormuz remains unknown as the situation in the region escalates. The European Union has announced it will ban Iran oil imports while Tehran has warned it would close the Strait of Hormuz if sanctions are imposed.
The Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Arabian Gulf with the Arabian Sea, is a sea passage for about a fifth of the world's oil trade.
Iran's ambassador to the UN had said that closing the Strait of Hormuz is an option if his country's security is endangered, Bloomberg reported.
The European Union had announced that it would ban oil imports from Iran starting July 1 to put pressure on over the country's nuclear programme.
The UAE, one of the world's top oil producers, is currently looking at how it can face these emerging issues pertaining to the Gulf region's coastal and offshore zone security.
In recent reports, a UAE official said that the UAE would be able to use ports on the Gulf Of Oman for its oil exports if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz. "We in the Gulf have cards in our hands that allow us to marginalise the role of the Strait and undermine its importance," said Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police, during a TV interview, Bloomberg reported.
Recently, the GCC approved the set up of a maritime operation centre in Bahrain. "The approval has been given from all the GCC countries," Al Nahyan said, adding that it had been in the talks for over a year now.
The Maritime Security and Surveillance conference which kicked off in the capital yesterday is hosting a roundtable session tomorrow for the Higher Committee for UAE Civil Seaports and Airports Security.