Two days after meeting with the new president of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, on 16 May, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian described the meeting on his Twitter account as the “opening of a new page in the relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Arab Emirates.”
Amir-Abdollahian spoke of “warm relations” between neighbors as the cause of “despair among enemies of the region.”
— H.Amirabdollahian امیرعبداللهیان (@Amirabdolahian) May 16, 2022
Amir-Abdollahian and the new UAE president discussed a number of issues of common interest, as well as the facilitation of affairs for Iranian nationals residing in the UAE.
The Iranian Foreign Minister left Tehran for the United Arab Emirates earlier on 16 May to pay tribute to former ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan who passed away on 14 May at the age of 73, following a long illness.
Speaking to the national Iranian News TV Network (IRINN TV) before meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed on Monday afternoon, the Iranian foreign minister described the UAE as an important neighbor to Iran and said that Tehran would seek to broaden ties with Abu Dhabi within the framework of the new administration’s neighborliness policy.
The trip by Hussein Amir-Abdollahian was the highest level visit by an Iranian official to the Persian Gulf country in recent months.
Iran’s deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani visited the UAE last November, where he said the two countries had agreed to open a new chapter in bilateral relations.
The UAE has been a major supplier of goods and machinery to Iran since 2018 when Tehran came under a series of unilateral economic sanctions by the United States.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden sent a high-level delegation to the UAE this week in a bid to mend ties with Washington’s Gulf allies.
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Abu Dhabi on 16 May, leading a delegation that included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, CIA director William Burns, and climate envoy John Kerry.
This delegation, described by experts as a “major charm offensive,” is Biden’s latest attempt to improve frayed relations with the Gulf country in the wake of a global food and fuel crisis caused by the conflict in Ukraine.
The crisis has deepened with the economic sanctions imposed on Russia by western powers.
Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have outright refused to break with their OPEC+ commitments in order to increase oil production, despite desperate pleas by the White House.
Although a key US strategic partner in the Persian Gulf region, the UAE abstained from voting earlier this year in a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.