UAE’s Top Security Official Visits Iran To Develop “Warm Ties”

The Emiratis getting ahead of the US pivot to China and Russia

Editor’s note: As the US reorients towards its cold wars with Russia and China the Middle East becomes a sideshow. The Emiratis (and Saudis) can see as much, and are positioning appropriately — as their value to the Empire diminishes patching things up with a big neighbor becomes critical.

The UAE’s top national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan is on a visit to Iran for high-level talks that are seen as a possible sign of thawing relations between the two countries.

Sheikh Tahnoon, a brother of the country’s de facto ruler and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, discussed improving bilateral ties and developments in regional affairs in the capital Tehran on Monday.

He first met his counterpart Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), before meeting Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi.

According to an Iranian readout of the meeting, Shamkhani said developing “warm and friendly” ties with neighbours is Iran’s top priority in foreign policy.

The security chief also emphasised that countries in the region should not be affected by external influence and meddling, and must work to end military and security crises through dialogue and not military action.

Shamkhani hoped that Sheikh Tahnoon’s visit will “mark the beginning of a new chapter of relations and create the grounds for expansion of all ties”.

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen, a country engulfed by a dire humanitarian crisis.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have held four rounds of Iraq-mediated talks in Baghdad since April.

Both sets of foreign ministers also met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York in September this year but no further talks have been announced.

During Monday’s meeting with Shamkhani, Sheikh Tahnoon was quoted as saying that the UAE also wants to improve “warm and brotherly” ties with Iran as a geopolitical power.

He proposed that the two countries should form expert working groups that would identify potential areas of boosting economic, transit, energy, and health sector relations and possible obstacles that would need to be removed.

The visit comes after Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, deputy foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani, visited Dubai in late November to meet several senior Emirati officials.

He said in a tweet following the meetings that they “agreed to open a new chapter” in bilateral relations.

Days later, Bagheri travelled to Vienna to lead the Iranian delegation in the seventh round of talks with world powers aimed at restoring Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal.

Source: Al Jazeera

UAE Walks Tightrope Between U.s, Israel and Iran

The United Arab Emirates is walking a diplomatic high wire between superpower ally Washington, new friend Israel and old adversary Iran as it seeks to avoid a costly regional conflict that could torpedo its trade and tourism ambitions.

Abu Dhabi hosts Israel’s prime minister this week and will receive a U.S. delegation seeking to warn companies in the UAE about compliance with sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities. The Gulf state also dispatched a senior official to Tehran last week in a bid to mend ties and contain tensions.

The whirl of diplomacy marks a shift in foreign policy approach for the UAE, which is retreating from military adventurism after having waded into a series of damaging conflicts over the past decade, from Yemen to Libya, according to Emirati officials, analysts and regional diplomats.

“We need to avoid a major conflict that will embroil the United States or indeed the countries in the region,” senior UAE official Anwar Gargash told a U.S.-based think-tank on Thursday. “Our interest is to try and avoid it at all costs.”

The United States and Israel have recently increased rhetorical pressure on Iran about possible economic or military consequences should efforts to salvage a 2015 nuclear pact fail.

World powers are trying to bring both Washington and Tehran back into full compliance with the pact, which then-President Donald Trump quit in 2018. He re-imposed sanctions, prompting Tehran to gradually violate the nuclear limits of the 2015 deal.

Abu Dhabi, which forged ties with Israel last year, shares U.S. and Israeli concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions along with its missiles programme and regional proxies. But it is trying to balance curtailing Iran with protecting its economic interests as a tourism and commercial hub post COVID-19 in the face of increasing economic competition in the region.

“It is time to de-escalate, not escalate. If Israel is in this mood, we are not going to share it,” said UAE political analyst Abdulkhaleq Abdulla.

Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, told the Arab Gulf States Institute that neither the region nor Washington want another conflict like Iraq or Afghanistan.

Iran rejects Western suspicions that it is seeking atomic weapons, saying its nuclear activities are for civilian energy purposes. It says it abided by the terms of the 2015 deal in good faith, and wants all sanctions imposed by the United States after Trump abandoned the deal to be lifted.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia, while pressing global powers to address Iran’s missile programme and regional behaviour, are wary of a repeat of 2019 attacks on tankers in Gulf waters and on Saudi oil facilities that forced the kingdom to temporarily shut down more than half its crude output.

The UAE, Gargash said, wants to find a “common economic denominator” to improve ties with Iran, Turkey and Syria, even as Abu Dhabi builds on relations forged with Israel.

In a sign Washington is cranking up economic pressure on Iran, Treasury official Andrea Gacki is due to visit the UAE as part of a delegation on Monday for what the State Department said were discussions with private sector firms and financial institutions that “facilitate non-compliant Iranian commerce”.

The UAE, long one of Iran’s main links to the outside world with business ties stretching back a century, saw its exports with Iran shrink from $14 billion in 2017 to $7 billion in 2019 according to World Bank data. Flows have started to recover.

Analyst Abdulla said there was no appetite in the UAE for further economic penalties on Iran.

“We have done our job and done our share of compliance in the past five, six years,” he added. “But enough is enough. Nobody is in the mood in Abu Dhabi to go for more sanctions. That is very clear.”

Source: Reuters

1 Comment
  1. Jerry Hood says

    They are scared to deathmif Iran attacked by satanic, zionazi jews, Iran may destroy that jew colony too!!! So, thdy try to save their butts, camel jockeys…

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