Iran top diplomat rounds out Gulf tour with UAE visit

AFP , Thursday 22 Jun 2023

Iran's foreign minister on Thursday concluded a three-day tour of Gulf Arab neighbors with a visit to the United Arab Emirates where he held talks with the country's president.

A photo provided by the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA on June 21, 2023 shows Kuwait s Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah meeting with Iran s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in Kuwait City on June 21, 2023. AFP -


Hossein Amir-Abdollahian's visit to the UAE followed stops in Qatar, Kuwait and Oman -- the latest in a flurry of diplomatic moves by Tehran as it seeks to reduce its isolation, improve its economy and project strength.

On Thursday, he discussed "bilateral relations and ways to enhance cooperation" in a meeting with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, the official WAM news agency reported.

Amir-Abdollahian extended an invitation from Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi for Sheikh Mohammed to visit, Tehran's foreign ministry said.

Gulf Arab countries are seeking to ease tensions with Iran, fuelled in recent years by the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

In a dramatic shift, China brokered an agreement in March between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties after a years-long rupture.

Tehran's nuclear programme is also an issue of mutual concern, as Iran seeks to revive a landmark 2015 deal granting sanctions relief in return for curbs to prevent it from acquiring an atomic bomb -- a target it has always denied seeking.

Iran said last week it had been engaged in indirect negotiations with the United States through Oman, with nuclear issues, US sanctions and a possible prisoner swap on the agenda.

The following day, Iran's nuclear negotiator said he had met with diplomats from three European countries in Abu Dhabi to discuss a number of issues including the country's nuclear programme.

In 2018, the United States under then-president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear accord, before Iran began backing away from its own commitments, including by stepping up its enrichment of uranium.

The administration of US President Joe Biden restarted talks to revive the deal in 2021, but the process has stalled amid on-off negotiations.

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