Iran’s top diplomat said Wednesday his country wants to boost relations with the United Arab Emirates, welcoming an Emirati ambassador back to Tehran after a six-year absence.
The UAE and other Gulf states scaled back their ties with the Islamic republic in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions in Iran following Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
“We would like to broaden our relations with our neighbors, including the United Arab Emirates,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told the new Emirati ambassador, Saif Mohammed al-Zaabi, when they met Tuesday, according to an official statement released early Wednesday.
Despite the diplomatic downgrade, the oil-rich UAE has maintained strong economic ties with the Islamic republic.
In 2020, the UAE established diplomatic relations with Israel, a move that Tehran condemned.
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But Abu Dhabi has been pursuing a policy of rapprochement with former regional rivals including Qatar, Turkey, and Iran.
After years of animosity on different sides of geopolitical rivalries, the UAE started re-engaging with Iran in 2019 following attacks in Gulf waters and on Saudi energy sites. The UAE has business and trade ties with Iran stretching back more than a century, with the emirate of Dubai long being one of Iran’s main links to the outside world.
Amir-Abdollahian “also stressed the need for the region’s countries to cooperate for the sake of regional stability,” according to the ministry’s statement.
In July, the UAE said it was considering sending an ambassador back to Tehran with the aim of “boosting bilateral ties,” state media reported at the time.
Iran said last month that Kuwait had sent its first ambassador to Tehran since 2016.
Two Middle Eastern powerhouses, Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have both expressed willingness to overcome their disputes and were engaged in bilateral talks, which were first made public in April 2021.
Courtesy: AFP with additional input by GVS