TEHRAN – The change in the leadership of the United Arab Emirates offers a new opportunity for a greater thaw in Tehran-Abu Dhabi relations that if seized by the new president of the UAE would elevate the relations to a new level.Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan is now the new president of the UAE. He has been elected president of the oil-rich Arab country during a meeting of the Federal Supreme Council, which comprises the rulers of the UAE’s seven emirates. The election was announced a day after former president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed passed away on Friday after years of battling the effects of a stroke he suffered in 2014.
Rulers of each emirate pledged allegiance to the new president. “Today, the Federal Supreme Council elected my brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as President of the State,” Dubai’s ruler Mohammed bin Rashid wrote on his Twitter account.
“We congratulate him and we pledge allegiance to him, and our people pledge allegiance to him.”
Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed appreciated the rulers’ pledging allegiance to him. He “expressed his appreciation for the dear trust that his brothers, their highnesses, members of the Federal Supreme Council, have entrusted him with, praying that Almighty God helps him succeed, helps him in taking on this great responsibility and meeting it in serving the UAE and its loyal people,” according to state news agency WAM.
On Friday and Saturday, messages from leaders of the world continued to pour in on the UAE to offer condolences and express grief at the loss of Sheikh Khalifa. Iranian President Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian also were keen to offer their condolences.
First, Amir Abdollahian sent such a message to his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to “offer condolences to the brotherly and friendly government and people” of the UAE, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.
“The news of the departure of His Excellency Sheikh Khalifah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE government was sorrowful. I would like to offer condolences to Your Excellency as well as the government and people of the UAE. I also wish divine mercy and forgiveness for the late leader and for you and the honorable family,” Amir Abdollahian said in the message.
Ayatollah Raisi addressed his message to Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed before the latter becomes president. “The news of the demise of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, caused grief and sorrow,” he said in the message.
The Iranian messages of condolences were predictable given the laggard progress in the development of the ties between Iran and the UAE. Ayatollah Raisi had received an invitation from the late president of the UAE to visit Abu Dhabi last December. It was delivered by UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed during his December visit to Tehran where he met with Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
The visit is still on agenda but it is unlikely to take place soon, though Ayatollah Raisi is reportedly planning to visit Oman in the near future. Iranian sources have told Al Araby Al Jadeed that the Emirati side repeated the invitation in other meetings, some of which were secret between the two parties. However, these sources confirmed that the completion of the visit is on the Iranian president’s agenda but it will take place “at the appropriate time.”
It seems that the slow pace of rapprochement is the main reason for this delay. The UAE can expedite this visit by taking practical steps to improve relations with Iran, particularly in the economic sector, which serves the interests of both sides. The UAE leaders, including Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed, have expressed their willingness to improve their relations with all the countries of the region, including Iran. Therefore, it would be no surprise if he takes steps to move relations with Iran to a new level.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/472582/How-will-be-Iran-UAE-relations-under-Mohammad-bin-Zayed
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