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Iran president Raisi invites UAE's MBZ to visit Tehran

The invite was extended on the same day that Iran conducted a naval drill on Abu Musa Island, which is disputed with the UAE.
United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan arrives at the Elysee Palace for a working lunch with France's President, in Paris, on July 18, 2022. - Emmanuel Macron welcomes the United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, nicknamed MBZ, at the Elysee Palace on July 18, 2022, whose state visit "will confirm the strong ties" between France and the rich Gulf oil country, the Elysee Palace announced on July 14, 2022. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MA

DUBAI — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi invited UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to visit his country on Wednesday. The invite came a day after Iran conducted a naval drill on Abu Musa Island, one of three islands disputed with the Emirates.

UAE Minister of State Khalifa Shaheen Almarar received the formal invitation from Raisi on behalf of Sheikh Mohamed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abu Dhabi, according to state-owned Emirates News Agency (WAM). No date has been set for the visit but if it happens it would be a first for the UAE leader.

Despite the drills, ties between Iran and the UAE have slightly improved over the past year. In June, Sheikh Mohamed met with Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Abu Dhabi to discuss bilateral relations and developments to improve prosperity and political stability in the region, reported WAM. Later the same day, the two countries announced an air-transportation agreement to increase trade and tourism opportunities between them, the government news agency added.

The Emirates has pivoted east in its foreign policy since the Saudi-Iran deal brokered by China was reached in March. Last Saturday, China announced first military drills ever with the UAE to take place this month in Xinjiang. MBZ has also visited Turkey and Russia in the last two months. 

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