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.