Iran, UAE agree to ‘open new chapter’ in relations

Relations between 2 countries have turned from bad to worse in recent years.

Iran's deputy foreign minister following his meeting with Emirati officials in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday said both sides have agreed to “open a new chapter” in their relations.

Ali Baqeri-Kani, who will be heading the Iranian delegation in the much-anticipated Vienna talks next week, has made whirlwinds visits to a number of countries in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, he was in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he held talks with Dr. Anwar Gargash, top foreign policy advisor to the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalifa Shaheen Almarar.

In a post on Twitter, the senior Iranian diplomat described the meetings as “friendly and cordial” and said both sides “agreed to open a new chapter” in their relations.

Gargash previously served as UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs between February 2008 and February 2021, while Almarar was the Emirati envoy to Tehran between 1999 and 2009.

A statement posted on the Emirati state news agency WAM said the two sides discussed importance of strengthening relations within the framework of common interest, regional stability and prosperity, and development of economic and trade relations.

Relations between Iran and the UAE have been strained in last two years since Abu Dhabi announced normalization of ties with Israel, brokered by the US.

The deal only accentuated the longstanding hostility between the two countries rooted in a dispute over three islands in the Persian Gulf region, which are administered by Iran but claimed by the UAE.

In recent months, however, the two sides have shown inclination to smoothen their ties, although with a degree of wariness and caution.

Earlier this month, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke to his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and both officials reaffirmed their commitment to enhance bilateral ties, especially in trade, according to a statement by Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

Amir-Abdollahian called relations between the two countries "traditional", and said both sides attach "special importance" to their ties and are confident of "improving" the bilateral cooperation.

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