0745 GMT November 19, 2019
A senior United Arab Emirates official on Sunday urged that Iran come to the negotiating table with world powers and Persian Gulf Arab nations to hammer out a new deal that would de-escalate regional tensions and revive Iranian economy.
"Further escalation at this point serves no one and we strongly believe that there is room for collective diplomacy to succeed," UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a speech in Abu Dhabi, Reuters reported.
He warned against a "false choice" between war and the "flawed" atomic deal.
Gargash said new talks with Iran should not just deal with its nuclear work, but also address its ballistic missile program and regional activities.
These topics mean regional countries would need to be involved in the discussions, he said at the annual strategic debate in the Emirati capital.
Tensions in the Persian Gulf have risen since attacks on oil tankers in vital global shipping lanes this summer, including one off the UAE coast, as well as a major assault on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia.
Washington blamed Iran which has denied the unsubstantiated claim as fabrication.
On Thursday, Iran said it had resumed uranium enrichment at its Fordo nuclear site, stepping further away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers after the United States pulled out of it in 2018.
The United States has imposed fresh sanctions on Iran since pulling out of the pact as part of its "maximum pressure" campaign on Tehran.
The UAE initially backed US President Donald Trump's maximum pressure campaign against Iran but called for de-escalation following regional tensions.
"I believe there could be a path to a deal with Iran that all parties might soon be ready to embark on. It will be long, and patience and courage will be required," Gargash said.
It was important that the international community be on the same page, especially the United States and European Union countries, as well as regional states, he added.
Washington says the sanctions, which are aimed at halting all Iranian oil exports, will force Iran into negotiations to reach a wider deal.
However, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has banned Iranian officials from holding such talks unless the United States returns to the nuclear deal and lifts all sanctions.