New U.S economic sanctions took effect against Iran this week, targeting the Islamic Republic's automotive industry as well as its ability to purchase U.S. dollars and trade in gold.

The European Union, Russia, China and Iraq broadly criticized the new sanctions, while Iranian neighbors Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which have backed the Trump administration's more confrontational approach with Tehran, remained largely silent.

Yousef al-Otaiba, UAE's ambassador to Washington, told VOA that Iran needs to be shown that its actions have consequences.

"Iran's behavior has to be associated with consequences," he said. "What are these consequences? That's something we should figure out together."

Al-Otaiba added that Iran's proxies in the region were acting based on its interests and advancing its regional goals and ambitions.

"Iran has consistently supported and funded terrorist groups and proxies throughout the Middle East," he contended. "The one thing all those groups have in common is their goal to destabilize the region."

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