Top UAE and Iran security officials meet after Riyadh-Tehran deal

AFP , Thursday 16 Mar 2023

The United Arab Emirates' national security adviser held talks Thursday in Abu Dhabi with his Iranian counterpart, whose visit to the UAE comes days after a surprise rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh.

Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan   Ali Shamkhani
Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R) during a meeting with the Secretary of Iran s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in Abu Dhabi on March 16, 2023. AFP


Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a brother of the UAE's president, received Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, the official WAM news agency said.

The two officials discussed "bilateral relations and opportunities to advance them in a way that serves the mutual interests of the two countries," WAM said, without elaborating.

Sheikh Tahnoun previously met Shamkhani on a visit to Iran in 2021, the first trip of its kind since relations between the two countries were downgraded in 2016.

Shamkhani called his UAE visit "a meaningful beginning for the two countries to enter a new stage of political, economic and security relations," Iran's state news agency IRNA said.

His visit came after Iran and Saudi Arabia announced a Chinese-brokered deal on Friday to end a seven-year rupture in diplomatic ties.

Shamkhani had travelled to Beijing for intensive talks with his Saudi counterpart ahead of the shock announcement.

"We should try to increase the security, peace and well-being of the people of the region through dialogue and interaction... while preventing foreigners from playing a non-constructive role," Shamkhani said during Thursday's meeting with Sheikh Tahnoun, IRNA reported.

In 2016, the UAE and other Gulf states scaled back their ties with Tehran after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi Arabia's diplomatic missions in Iran following Riyadh's execution of prominent Shia Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Despite the diplomatic downgrade, the oil-rich UAE maintained strong economic ties with Iran.

Last year, the UAE's ambassador in Tehran resumed his duties after a six-year absence, while in September, Iran's top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran wanted to broaden relations with the UAE.

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