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Iran, UAE security officials discuss Persian Gulf security

December 6, 2021 at 4:20 pm

Emirati minister of interior, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L), and the national security adviser of the United Arab Emirates, Tahnoun bin Zayed al-Nahyan, are pictured during a welcoming ceremony for the Russian president at the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi’s Al-Watan presidential palace on October 15, 2019 [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images]

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) top national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, held talks in Tehran on Wednesday with Iran’s top security official, Ali Shamkhani, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Speaking during their meeting, Shamkhani, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, voiced hope that a new chapter of relations would be opened between Tehran and Abu Dhabi.

Talks between the two sides dwelt on bilateral relations and regional issues.

“Dialogue and understanding” need to replace “military approaches” to resolve differences among countries in the region, Shamkhani said in a statement.

The top Iranian security official underlined the need of not allowing “extra-regional” players to influence relations between the regional countries, in a veiled reference to Israel.

He said the Persian Gulf, as the energy hub, can play an important role in regional and global economy, which he said will bring development and prosperity to the Gulf countries.

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Sheikh Tahnoon, for his part, underlined the importance of establishing working groups between the two countries to bolster cooperation, identify obstacles and find ways to remove them.

He said both the UAE and Iran can foster cooperation in the areas of transit, energy, transportation, health and investment.

The Emirati official also met with Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, during his visit to Tehran.

According to a statement issued by his office, Raisi said the policy of the “enemies” of regional countries is to “create fear” among them, adding that the plans would be “thwarted with prudence”.

Sheikh Tahnoon delivered an official invitation from the UAE President to President Raisi.

Tahnoon’s visit to Tehran coincided with a visit by Syrian Foreign Minister, Faisal Al-Moqdad and his deputy, Bashar Al-Jaafari, which led to speculation that the two visits could be related or coordinated.

But Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, in his presser on Monday morning said the two official visits had “no relation”.

He said Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Ali Bagheri, had visited Abu Dhabi recently with an aim to take bilateral ties “to a new level”.

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Following the visit last month, Bagheri, who is also Iran’s lead negotiator in nuclear deal talks, said both sides agreed to “open a new chapter” in their relations.

Relations between Iran and the UAE have been strained over the last two years, since Abu Dhabi normalised its diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020.

Since then, Tehran has frequently warned Abu Dhabi against allowing Israel to gain a foothold in the Persian Gulf region.

In recent months, however, the two sides have made moves to make peace, but with a degree of caution.

Last month, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, spoke to his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, and both officials reaffirmed their commitment to enhance bilateral ties.