TERHAN – The next stop of the Iran-Arab normalization train was announced on Wednesday. Iranian media said the country’s top security official will arrive in Abu Dhabi on Thursday after hammering out a historic deal with Saudi Arabia.
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, will travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday at the invitation of his Emirati counterpart.
In Abu Dhabi, Shamkhani will meet UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, Nour News, a media outlet linked to the Council said.
In Abu Dhabi, the top Iranian security official will also meet the UAE’s high-ranking officials and discuss bilateral, regional and international issues.
High-level banking, economic, and security officials will accompany Shamkhani during his trip to the UAE.
This will be the second meeting between the top security officials of Iran and the UAE since late 2021. Sheikh Tahnoun travelled to Terhan in early December 2021 where he held talks with Shamkhani. That meeting paved the way for renewed Iranian-UAE cooperation in the economic field. Although the 2021 meeting discussed many issues, economic issues featured high on the agenda.
The 2021 visit came against a backdrop of Emirati push to patch up ties with one-time rivals such as Qatar, Turkey, and Iran. Sheikh Tahnoon played a pivotal role in amending ties with all these countries, an indication of the powerful position the man enjoys in the Emirati government.
“Warm and friendly relations with neighbors and the exchange of economic, trade, and investment capacities are the main priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of foreign policy,” the top Iranian security official told his Emirati counterpart at the time.
Shamkhani added, “The countries of the Persian Gulf, if they cooperate and work together, can play an important role in the regional and global economy while creating development and prosperity for their nations as an energy hub.”
Sheikh Tahnoon, for his part, welcomed the proposal to strengthen economic ties with Iran. He described the economic potential of the two countries in the fields of transit, energy, transportation, health, and investment as very broad. He added, “It is necessary to identify and eliminate the obstacles ahead by forming specialized working groups while accurately enumerating the areas of joint cooperation in various economic fields.”
Despite the positive developments that followed the 2021 visit, it stopped short of fully unleashing the massive potentials for economic cooperation given the continuation of Iran-Saudi tensions. Also, the normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel had cast a long shadow on improvement in Tehran-Abu Dhabi relations.
Now with the Emiratis and Saudis distancing themselves from Israel, a new horizon for cooperation is opened across the Persian Gulf. And the Shamkhani visit is likely to further pave the way for the strengthening of ties.
The trip comes amid de-escalation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Shamkhani led the Iranian negotiation team in talks that resulted in a Chinese-brokered deal between Tehran and Riyadh.
In a surprise deal that put an end to seven years of tensions, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to patch up their ties.
While many observers were skeptical about any imminent thaw in Iran-Saudi relations, top security officials from Iran and Saudi Arabia secretly traveled to the Chinese capital to put the finishing touches on a deal that would end seven years of tensions between the two regional heavyweights.
The deal, brokered by China, was announced all of a sudden on Friday, drawing mixed reactions from countries all over the world.
According to the joint statement put out by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China, “The three countries announce that an agreement has been reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, that includes an agreement to resume diplomatic relations between them and re-open their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months, and the agreement includes their affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs of states.”
The statement added, “They also agreed that the ministers of foreign affairs of both countries shall meet to implement this, arrange for the return of their ambassadors, and discuss means of enhancing bilateral relations.”
The UAE has welcomed the Iran-Saudi deal.
Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President, expressed satisfaction with the deal. “We welcome the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations, and we hail the Chinese role in this regard,” he said on Twitter, adding, “The UAE believes in the importance of positive communication and dialogue among the countries of the region towards consolidating the concepts of good neighbourliness and starting from a common ground to build a more stable future for all.”
UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed also welcomed the deal, saying on Twitter, “The restoration of relations between brotherly Saudi Arabia and Iran is an important step for the region towards stability and prosperity.”
Iran warming up to its Arab neighbors. So far, relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE have got a real boost. And normalization with Bahrain seems to be a matter of time. Iran and Bahrain are conducting “significant” talks to re-establish their relations, a report by the Russian Sputnik news agency said.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, Sputnik said the consultations that have been taking place between the two countries so far are at a bilateral level without mediation from other parties so far, and it is expected that the results will be announced soon if there is agreement on all the contentious issues being discussed.
Bahraini MP Mamdouh Salih stressed that the Iranian parliamentary delegation, which visited the Kingdom in recent days, expressed its desire to open more horizons of cooperation with Bahrain, while the Bahraini side confirmed the same desire.
“Initiatives in the near future are looking to resolve the outstanding and thorny issues between the two countries,” he said.
He pointed out that Bahrain always calls for non-interference in the internal affairs of any of the Arab countries, as well as with regard to its internal affairs, in connection with the interest that King Hamad bin Isa attaches to the stability of the region and the establishment of peace and security, according to Sputnik.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/482977/Next-stop-Abu-Dhabi
Biden pays tribute to Iranian women at Nowruz celebration
Russia’s Iran Envoy to Sputnik: Moscow-Tehran Relations ‘Have Acquired a Strategic Character’
Ex-Iranian Deputy Ambassador to Iraq: ‘US Has Destroyed All Iraq’s Infrastructure’