Iran calls for 'Gulf of Peace'

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tells UAE president that 'foreign forces' should leave the Gulf.


    The UAE is building closer ties with Iran while also hosting the US navy [AP]

    "With each other's help, we can turn the Persian Gulf to the gulf of peace and friendship."


    The United Arab Emirates is an important regional hub for the US military.
    The US navy makes extensive use of Dubai's Jebel Ali port, the country's largest, and also stations U2 spyplanes at the country's airbases.
    Trade partner



    Despite the row, Iran and the UAE have wide-ranging commercial links, and the UAE is by far Iran's largest trading partner.


    The emirate of Dubai in particular serves as an outlet for Tehran's business with the outside world.


    This makes the UAE an essential partner for Iran at a time when it is subjected to UN and more wide-ranging US sanctions, and Washington is seeking to isolate Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme.


    In a sign of the importance Tehran attaches to relations, last year it appointed one of its highest profile diplomats, former foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, as its ambassador in Abu Dhabi.


    At least 400,000 of the UAE's 4.1 million residents are Iranian.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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