On March 16, 2023, the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, welcomed Ali Shamkhani, Iranian security official the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, in Abu Dhabi. This visit took place as Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore their diplomatic relations.
United Arab Emirates Reconnect with Iran with Iranian security official Visit
According to the official WAM news agency, the two leaders discussed improving their bilateral relations. They explored ways to build bridges of cooperation in various fields to achieve common interests. Several high-ranking Emirati officials also participated in the meeting, including the national Iranian security official and security advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In this context, Mr. Shamkhani stated:
We should strive to increase security, peace, and well-being for the inhabitants of the region through dialogue and interaction… while preventing foreigners from playing a non-constructive role.
Mr. Shamkhani’s visit to the United Arab Emirates comes after Saudi Arabia and Iran announced their agreement to reopen diplomatic relations, negotiated by China. The UAE hailed this decision and, in turn, sent an ambassador to Iran in August of the previous year, more than six years after reducing their relations with Tehran.
It is worth noting that the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic relations with Iran after Saudi Arabia broke off its ties with the Islamic Republic in 2016.
Mr. Shamkhani’s visit to the United Arab Emirates marks a significant turning point in relations between the two countries. This meeting is a positive sign that strengthens hope for future cooperation, as well as the pursuit of peace and stability in the Middle East region.
In summary, this visit demonstrates the importance both the United Arab Emirates and Iran place on cooperation and finding solutions to regional problems. This will undoubtedly strengthen security and stability by working towards peace and cooperation among the various regional actors.
Return of the United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador to Iran
After a six-year absence, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Iran resumed his duties in Tehran in August 2022, as part of Abu Dhabi’s efforts to strengthen relations with Tehran. The decision to reappoint the ambassador was in line with the UAE’s policy of regional appeasement. According to the Emirati Foreign Ministry, Saif Mohammed Al-Zaabi’s mission was to help advance bilateral relations to serve the common interests of both countries and the entire region.
On Sunday, August 21, 2022, the Emirati Foreign Ministry announced:
The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran will resume his duties in the coming days.
In 2016, the United Arab Emirates, along with several other Gulf countries, reduced their diplomatic representation in Iran after the ransacking of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran by protesters. They were protesting against Riyadh’s execution of Shiite religious leader Nimr Baqr Al-Nimr, a figure in the kingdom’s opposition who denounced the discrimination of Shiites by the Saudi regime.
The decision to send the Emirati ambassador back to Tehran marked the beginning of a diplomatic thaw between the two countries. Their relations have often been tense due to political and religious differences.