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Tue 6 Dec 2011 12:46 PM

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Dubai’s ruler plays down fears of nuclear Iran

HH Sheikh Mohammed tackles Arab Spring unrest, risk to UAE of global financial woes

Dubai’s ruler plays down fears of nuclear Iran
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice-President of the UAE
Dubai’s ruler plays down fears of nuclear Iran
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice-President of the UAE

ruler has said he does not believe Iran’s nuclear push is aimed at developing
an atomic weapon and said the Persian state is realistic about the consequences
of a strike against Israel.

In an
interview with CNN, HH Sheikh
Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum implied that rhetoric over the risk of a nuclear
Tehran to Israel in recent weeks had been overblown.

“What can Iran do with a nuclear weapon?” he said. “For
example, 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.”

is facing a fresh wave of sanctions after a UN report last month said the
country appeared to have worked on designing an atom bomb and may be pursuing
secret research to that end.

 “Iran is our neighbour,”
Sheikh Mohammed said. “They are Muslim, and we lived next to each other for
thousands and thousands of years. I don't believe that Iran will develop a
nuclear weapon.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Sheikh Mohammed also discussed
the root causes of the Arab Spring
upheaval that has toppled rulers in Egypt,
Libya and Tunisia. The UAE, the world's third biggest oil exporter, has not
seen the kind of protests that have rocked the region, partly thanks to its
generous cradle-to-grave welfare system.

Sheikh Mohammed said he had warned rulers in Arab countries
that simmering political unrest could erupt if they failed to address the needs
of their populations.

Arab Spring is people who waited for a long time and some governments are
serving themselves and not serving their people,” he said. “I said in 2004, I
said ‘please change or you will be changed.’”

The UAE has pledged to spend $1.6bn in Ras Al Khaimah,
Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm al-Quwain, in a bid to close the wealth gap
with richer emirates Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Gulf state has been widely seen as a safe haven
destination during the unrest, helping to spur a rebound from its own 2009 debt
. The government has moved quickly to quash any signs of unrest within
its own borders, sentencing five Emirati activists to jail last month for insulting
the leaders of the Gulf state. The five were pardoned and released hours later.

Article continues on
next page…

The case was an indication the UAE is continuing to find its
way towards a more democratic society, Sheikh Mohammed said.

“If you
are a criminal you go to court. Not everybody is really perfect and we are not
perfect, we are doing a lot for people but there is still a lot to do so we
hope this five will become better citizens for their own good and for their own
people,” he said.

“As long
as they don’t say something wrong about a person or whatever is it is, they can
say whatever they want. We are not perfect, we are still learning. We are
trying to help our people, we have our own democracy. You cannot transport your
democracy to us… [but] as long as you don’t step on somebody else you are free
to do what you like.”

The rulers of the UAE were also keeping a close eye on
Europe’s debt crisis and the slowing US economy, Sheikh Mohammed said.  Concerns that Europe’s fiscal woes are
weighing on export-dependent economies have been mounting and Standard & Poor's on Monday warned it may carry out an
unprecedented mass downgrade on the credit ratings of euro zone countries if EU
leaders fail to reach a deal on how to solve the region's debt crisis in a
summit later this week.

course, the American crisis or the European crisis [is] affecting the market
but we are [better placed] here than anybody else,” he said. “We got out of the
crisis and now we are back
building again. But just to remind you [during] the
crisis, the tallest building we completed, the metro we completed, the Meydan
we completed, all while in the crisis. All the big projects we did not stop, we
only stopped some projects on the paper for a year or two.”

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Amir 8 years ago

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum
Thank you
We always Knew He is a Wise man and Man of peace
Finally The truth has been said

Promod 8 years ago

I think that Dubai is lucky to have a ruler like H.H Sheikh Mohammed . If my country (India) had a ruler like him, then we would have become a developed country by now.

Kumar 8 years ago

While I agree with you that we need a great leader in India, it is also important that every person as an individual has his own responsibility towards our nation. Just sitting back and watching and expecting a single leader to do everything.... It will never work that way.

ubaid 8 years ago

Very apt comment and 100 percent true.

CSS 8 years ago

The comments by H.H Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai are very sensible and perhaps say what the majority of people in UAE feel and think about Iran. As stated by HH, Iran has been a neighbour to UAE and other countries in this area and the relations and trade has existed amongst these nations for thousands of years. Iran is not a new nation and if they were to develop a nuclear bomb and attack Israel as feared by the Western countries, this would have serious consequences for Iran. Iran is not that foolish not to understand that.
Iran has every right to develop and advance its technology just like any other country in the world and the region. They should not be subjected to different rules. There are other countries in the region with all kinds of arsenal and weapons including WMD's, and nothing has been said or done about it. Why different set of rules? Are such nations the Chosen Ones???. This is the real issue which the Western countries should address

Mazz the Buzz 8 years ago

May Allah shower his choicest blessings on His Highness, the UAE + Rulers and the Emarities + Expats. May this land enjoy Peace and Prosperity, Health and Wealth. Aameen.

abdul hafeez sheikh 8 years ago

UAE is going to need Nuclear Power very soon .They are developing at very high speed and the need for energy is going to be prime in Future . UAE may have two main Options . Solar energy or Neuclear Energy . The oil in future will become expensive source of energy. Dubai's leader H H Sheikh Mohammad is a visionary and may be having some good vision about energy in future for UAE and we may be following the same path.

Andy 8 years ago

It is simple, whenever the domestic situation in the US and Europe gets too tense politicians divert the public attention to an imaginary enemy. I am Austrian many years in the Middle East with good friends in Iran, it is a shame that the weapons of mass destruction tale has not yet outlived its purpose after what happened in Iraq
It shows that nobody cares about the truth, it all depends who tells the tale.

Dubai Expat 8 years ago

Very well said Promod!
@ Kumar, it is working very well for Dubai!

Rakesh 8 years ago

Hi Promod,If you have no economic know-how, please keep your comments to yourself. India is a powerhouse amoung economies. How come UAE still dosent fall under even "developed economies". Ppl like you just make me enraged!