In a January 30, 2019 interview on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.), UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Qarqash said that despite Iran's claims that its missiles are for purposes of deterrence, they are being exported to Yemen and Syria and being used against Saudi citizens. He said that the UAE wishes to see a united and Arab Syria, and that Iran must not have the presence or freedom of movement that it currently enjoys in Syria. Minister Qarqash added that the strategic breakthrough in relations with Israel must be linked to a similar breakthrough in the peace process.
Following are excerpts:
Anwar Mohammed Qarqash: Today, Iran claims that its missile program is for deterrence. If so, how come Iran exports missiles to Yemen, where they are used against...
Interviewer: They export them to Syria as well…
Anwar Mohammed Qarqash: To Syria and elsewhere. These missiles are used against Saudi civilian targets.
Interviewer: How do you see the latest Israeli-Iranian confrontations in Syria? Are you afraid that it might escalate? On which side does the UAE stand in such a confrontation?
Anwar Mohammed Qarqash: At the end of the day, we support Syria.
Interviewer: But in this case, Syria is the scene of an Israeli-Iranian conflict.
Anwar Mohammed Qarqash: We support a united, capable and Arab Syria. However, this conflict is also a consequence of the Iranian intervention.
We believe that Iran must not have such a presence in Syria, and that it should not have such freedom of movement there.
I believe that the big strategic breakthrough in the relations with Israel must be linked to a similar breakthrough in the peace process. Without this, we will witness nothing but small things, such as the participation of an Israeli delegation in this or that activity, or an Israeli delegation visiting somewhere. I believe that these matters have become marginal. The big breakthrough, if there is one, will also require a change in the political course.