March 25, 2023

On Thursday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani held high-level talks in the United Arab Emirates, about a week after Tehran and Riyadh agreed to resume relations.

Shamkhani discussed with Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi “bilateral relations and ways to build bridges of cooperation between the two countries in various fields to achieve common interests,” Emirates News reported. Agency.

Shamkhani also discussed “bilateral relations” with Emirates Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Tehran and Abu Dhabi can make great strides in developing bilateral cooperation and strengthening neighborly diplomacy,” Shamkhani said during a meeting with the Emirates President, according to the Iranian news agency IRNA.

Shamkhani believed: “The formation of a stronger region is an achievable goal, and we must all take steps to achieve it.”

In China, Admiral Shamkhani led his country’s talks with Saudi Arabia that led last Friday to the two powerful regional powers announcing an agreement to end the rift that has been going on since 2016.

Emirates News Agency reported that Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed and Shamkhani discussed on Thursday “various aspects of bilateral relations and the possibilities of strengthening and developing them in a way that serves the mutual interests of the two countries, especially in the political, economic and trade fields. .”

The parties also discussed “a number of issues of mutual interest and exchanged views on them and the importance of making efforts for the stability and prosperity of the region,” the agency said.

For its part, the Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Shamkhani’s statement during the meeting: “Cooperation and rapprochement should replace hostility and discord” in the region, adding: “We should try to enhance security, peace and prosperity for the peoples of the region through dialogue, interaction and expansion of political cooperation, cooperation in the field of security, economy and culture”.

Shiite-majority Iran on the one hand, and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia with its allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council on the other, support opposing sides facing each other in various armed and political conflicts. in the region, especially in Yemen and Syria.

Relations between Riyadh and Tehran were severed in 2016 when Iranian protesters attacked Saudi Arabian diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom executed opposition Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

The UAE, an ally of Saudi Arabia, was among the Gulf states that downgraded their relationship with Tehran following attacks by protesters against Saudi Arabian interests, but maintained important economic relations with it.

The UAE is a key player in the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen in support of the government and against the Houthis, allies of Tehran. These rebels struck at Abu Dhabi.

Riyadh and Washington accuse Tehran of providing them with weapons to attack neighboring countries, which the Islamic Republic denies.

On Wednesday, a Saudi official said Iran-Saudi talks in Beijing have led to “concrete commitments” to Yemen, which has been mired in war since 2014, but did not disclose them.

He continued: “Iran is the main supplier of weapons, training and propaganda programs for the Houthis, and we are the main victim of these missiles, drones and so on. So there is a lot that Iran can and should do,” he said, adding that Iran should stop “supplying arms to the Houthis.”

In addition, Eurasia Group Iranian analyst Gregory Pro said that Shamkhani’s visit to the UAE is “important because it shows the ongoing efforts of the Gulf countries to improve relations with Iran.”

“The UAE is a major trading partner for Iran and has also become an important intermediary in Iranian oil exports,” he told AFP, adding that Shamkhani may have been discussing ways to access frozen Iranian assets abroad through Emirati mediation or diplomatic support.

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