Skip to main content

Iran appoints first ambassador to UAE in 8 years as Gulf thaw continues

Reza Ameri previously served as Iran’s ambassador to Algeria, Sudan and Eritrea.
Ali Shamkhani with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed

DUBAI — Iran has appointed Reza Ameri as its first ambassador to the United Arab Emirates after eight years of political strife, Iranian state news outlets reported Tuesday. 

Ameri previously held the position of director general of the Iranian expatriate office at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, according to Islamic Republic News Agency. His prior diplomatic posts included serving as Iran’s ambassador to Algeria, Sudan and Eritrea. 

Iran’s top security official, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani, held high-level talks in the UAE on March 16, days after Tehran and Riyadh reached a China-mediated deal to establish relations and reopen their embassies within two months and after years of political standoff. 

The UAE downgraded its ties with Iran in January of 2016, following Saudi Arabia. Riyadh severed ties with the country after protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following Saudi’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. Relations soured further between Abu Dhabi and Tehran wtih a series of suspected Iranian drone attacks on tankers off the UAE coast in 2019. 

But in 2020, UAE-Iran ties picked back up with high-level national security meetings and new agreements. 

Iran exported more than $2.2 billion worth of non-oil products to the UAE from March to July of 2022, Tehran Times reported at the time. The UAE was Iran’s third largest export destination during that period, it added. 

In August, the UAE appointed Saif Mohammed Al Zaabi as its ambassador to Iran and then reopened its embassy in Tehran, reported the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. 

Last month, Iran and the UAE agreed to work together more on aviation matters, according to IRNA. 

Despite these improved relations, the UAE remains close to Iran’s top adversary, Israel, with which it signed the Abraham Accords to normalize relations in 2020. 

The UAE also implemented its comprehensive economic partnership agreement with Israel on April 1, removing or reducing tariffs on more than 96% of products, affecting 99% of the current value of traded goods between the two countries, according to the Emirates News Agency WAM. 

There is an estimated Iranian expatriate community in the UAE of 500,000, according to various informal sources, as official numbers have not been made available.


Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Gulf Briefing Gulf Briefing

Gulf Briefing

Top GCC stories in your inbox each week

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial