UAE leaders dismiss Iran nuke threat

Updated: 2011-12-06 16:05


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DUBAI - United Arab Emirates' Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said he did not believe Iran would make a nuclear bomb as it would be of little use, the CNN website reported Tuesday.

"What can Iran do with a nuclear weapon?" Al Maktoum was quoted as saying in the CNN interview Monday. "I don't believe that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon."

"Will they hit Israel? How many Palestinians will die? And you think if Iran hits Israel, their cities will be safe? They will be gone the next day," he told CNN.

While Western powers have increased their pressure on Iran because of Tehran's nuclear energy project, the UAE leader said his country does not regard the Islamic republic as a threat, neither to the Gulf region nor to anybody else.

Al Maktoum said his country aims at a diplomatic solution to the tensions between Tehran and the West.

According to CNN, 15 percent of real estate in Dubai is owned by Iranian nationals. Tourists from the country travel in masses to Dubai, mostly to shop and invest. Iranian banks Saderat and Melli have branches in Dubai.

Moreover, many European companies use Dubai as a hub to deliver their goods to Iran, whose Persian Gulf coast is only two hours north from Dubai by ship.

Trade volume between the UAE and Iran reached 27 billion UAE dirhams ($7.3 billion) in 2010, up 12 percent from 2009.