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Iran's deputy foreign minister pledges 'new chapter' in Iran-UAE relations

Iran's deputy foreign minister, Ali Bagheri Kani, met with senior Emirati officials in Dubai on Wednesday.
Iranian diplomat and political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Ali Bagheri Kani.

Iran and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to usher in a “new chapter” in their relations, Iran's deputy foreign minister said following his trip to the Gulf country on Wednesday.

Ali Bagheri Kani, who also serves as Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, met in Dubai with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalifa Shaheen and Anwar Gargash, the diplomatic adviser to the Emirati president. 

Emirati state news agency WAM said the meeting “emphasized the importance of strengthening relations on the basis of good neighborliness and mutual respect.”

“We agreed to open a new chapter,” Kani tweeted following his meeting with the senior Emirati officials, whom he described as “friendly and cordial.”

The two countries maintain diplomatic relations despite often being at loggerheads over the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. Last year, Iran slammed the UAE’s decision to strike a normalization accord with Israel.

The UAE has called for “collective diplomacy” between the Gulf states and Iran and says it has taken steps to de-escalate tensions. In 2019, Abu Dhabi refrained from directly blaming Tehran for an attack on four oil tankers off the Emirati coast. 

Kani’s visit to the UAE comes as the United States and other world powers prepare for the resumption of nuclear negotiations in Vienna that are scheduled for Nov. 29. 

Abu Dhabi supported former President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, in part because the deal didn’t address Iran’s ballistic missile program and proxy activity in the region. President Joe Biden has sought to resurrect the deal, which offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. 

US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley and other senior officials recently visited the UAE, as well as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, to discuss the upcoming seventh round of nuclear talks.