DUBAI // “Nothing is off the table” when it comes to Iran, says British prime minister David Cameron who arrived in the UAE last night for diplomatic talks.
In an interview with The National, Mr Cameron said the UK was committed to working with its allies in the Gulf to resolve the threat of a nuclear crisis.
“On Iran, I’ve made clear that [it] is not just a threat to the region, it’s a threat to the world,” he said.
He said the UK believed in a twin-track approach of applying pressure through sanctions while engaging in diplomatic talks with Iran.
“We need the courage to give these sanctions time to work,” he said. “But I’ve also made clear that if Iran makes the wrong choice, nothing is off the table.”
Mr Cameron arrived in the capital late last night for a two-day visit to the country. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation including the British defence secretary Phillip Hammond and British trade and investment minister Lord Stephen Green.
The prime minister will meet today with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
His visit comes at a time when tension over Iran’s nuclear programme and its occupation of three UAE islands – Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs – continues to grow.
A new Iranian naval base was inaugurated on Sunday, according to the Associated Press who cite an Iranian state TV report as saying the base will bolster Tehran’s authority over the three islands.
The base, which is near the Iranian mainland’s southern port of Bandar-e Lengeh and north of the islands, is the fifth Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval base in the Gulf.
Gen Ali Fadavi from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said missile and marine units had been deployed there.
British diplomatic sources said they expected Mr Cameron to talk about British Eurofighter Typhoon today.
“We both want to protect the security of our citizens and boost our nations’ prosperity,” he said. “I believe there is much we can achieve by working together.
“Whether that is by [...] our armed forces training together or our defence industry collaborating on the the development of the next generation of military aerospace equipment.”
Mr Cameron said he was also interested in seeing a growth in UAE-UK business ties in the energy and education sectors as well as Emiratis investing in the UK’s infrastructure.