Iran has named an ambassador to the United Arab Emirates nearly eight years after his predecessor left, as a thaw in relations with the Gulf Arab states picks up pace. Reza Ameri, a veteran diplomat who served most recently as director general of the foreign ministry’s diaspora affairs department, was appointed as Iran’s new envoy to the UAE.
The move comes after Iran welcomed an Emirati ambassador last September ending a six-year absence. The UAE had cut the level of its diplomatic representation after neighboring Saudi Arabia severed ties in 2016 following the ransacking of its diplomatic missions in Iran by protesters angered by its execution of a leading Shiite cleric.
After several of its Gulf allies led the way, Riyadh restored diplomatic relations with Tehran last month in a fence-mending deal brokered by Beijing. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has accepted an invitation to Riyadh from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber confirmed on Monday.
Iran and the United Arab Emirates have long had close economic ties which continued even during the diplomatic chill. Last year, following the agreement between Iran and the UAE, the two countries decided to once again upgrade their diplomatic relations to the level of ambassadors. Saif Mohammad al-Zaabi, the UAE ambassador to Iran, returned to Tehran last year. Mohammad Reza Fayaz was Iran’s last ambassador to the UAE who returned to Iran in 2016. Since then, Hossein Heidari has been serving as Iran’s chargé d’affaires in the UAE.
Recently, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, paid a visit to the UAE, where he met with UAE President Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed, UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, and Ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed.
In his meeting with Sheikh Tahnoun, Shamkhani called for goodwill to resolve “family differences” and emphasized that in order to address the current challenges, which do not advantage any regional party, cooperation must replace hostilities. The top Iranian security official reaffirmed Tehran’s unwavering foreign policy stance, which favors collective, enduring, and productive cooperation with neighbors, saying that cooperation and convergence must replace hostility and divergence in order to find a solution to the region’s troubles. Shamkhani highlighted the need to resolve family conflicts via conversation, goodwill, and compromise so that all nations might work together to build a strong and prosperous region. He compared regional governments to members of a large family who share a common fate.