|Dubai ruler calls for lifting of Iran sanctions||
TEHRAN – The ruler of Dubai, a Persian Gulf trade and investment hub with strong links to Iran, said in remarks broadcast on Monday that the international community should ease sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Reuters reported.
Under a deal struck in November, Iran is expected to curb its nuclear activity in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions. The pact will come into force January 20, Iran and world powers agreed on Sunday.
Asked whether he thought it was time to lift the sanctions, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, told British broadcaster the BBC, "I think so and give Iran a space... Iran is our neighbor and we don't want any problem, he said, adding that "everybody will benefit".
Despite a decade of sanctions, Iran has managed to get most of the commodities and goods it needs via Dubai's flourishing re-export market.
The vast majority of trade between Iran and its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors is routed through Dubai, home to tens of thousands of ethnic Iranians and one of seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates.
Iran says its atomic energy program is aimed purely at electricity generation and other civilian purposes.
"I think they're telling the truth when they say just for civilian power," Sheikh Mohammed said in the interview.
Shortly after the November 24 deal, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif went to the UAE to try and improve relations with the U.S. ally.
Across the Persian Gulf from Iran, the UAE stands to benefit directly from any easing of sanctions under the nuclear deal that have dampened regional trade.
Zarif met Sheikh Mohammed during his December visit and the UAE was the first Persian Gulf Arab state to cautiously welcome November's nuclear deal. The UAE foreign minister flew to Iran days later, calling for a partnership with the Islamic Republic.
The six Sunni Muslim-ruled members of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) have welcomed Iran's "new direction" under President Hassan Rouhani and said Tehran should do more to promote stability in the region.
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