Iran's Rouhani assails UAE-Israeli deal as 'huge mistake'

IRGC goes even further, terming the agreement "the biggest betrayal in history."

al-monitor Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) speaks during a ceremony marking the country's annual army day in Tehran, on April 18, 2019. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani called on Middle East states on April 18 to "drive back Zionism," in an Army Day tirade against the Islamic Republic's archfoe Israel.  Photo by Photo credit should read -/AFP via Getty Images.

Topics covered

persian gulf, zionist, peace deal, normalization, hassan rouhani, uae, irgc

Aug 17, 2020

While the deal to normalize ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been celebrated by some analysts and regional and world leaders, it instantly became an issue of concern for the Islamic Republic of Iran, which sees potential danger in an Israeli presence in the Persian Gulf.

Immediately after the announcement that Israel and the UAE have decided to normalize ties and establish commercial and communication links, President Hassan Rouhani criticized the decision. “The Emirates are making a huge mistake and I hope they return from this path,” Rouhani said.

The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Mohammad Bagheri, also attacked the UAE over the decision, saying that since Egypt and Israel signed a peace deal 42 years ago, Israel’s relations with Muslim countries have not expanded; rather, Israel has become more isolated. Bagheri added, “The Islamic Republic, like other countries and Islamic nations, views this as ‘strategic stupidity’ and ‘dangerous.’” He said this signals “a dangerous future for the Emirates glass palace.”

Bagheri warned that if “the Islamic Republic’s national security even sees the smallest damage” from the normalization of ties, which brings in an Israeli presence to the Persian Gulf, they will view the UAE for being at fault and will not tolerate it. He added, “We recommend until it is not too late for the UAE to reconsider this decision and not continue this path, which is detrimental to the security of the region and their country.”

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) issued a statement in response to the UAE-Israel agreement, saying it is “the biggest betrayal in history” against the Palestinian cause. The statement said the agreement has multiple goals, including giving Israel legitimacy, weakening the Palestinian resistance front, downplaying the issue of Jerusalem and attempting to clear the path for the “deal of the century.” The statement reflecting the views of the IRGC said they see this as a US, Israeli and Saudi decision.

The statement said the agreement will make the leaders of the UAE hated in the region “for their clear betrayal of the Muslim nation" and warned that rather than securing the interests of Israel it will have the reverse effect.

In speaking with members of Hamas, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian — a special adviser to parliament who has long been in charge of Arab affairs in the Foreign Ministry — also warned that normalizing relations with Israel will not bring peace to the region. The friendly relation with Israel “has no justification, and they will see damages as a result of friendliness with the Zionists,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

In response to Rouhani’s comments, the UAE summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Abu Dhabi. UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash tweeted that the decision to normalize ties with Israel had nothing to do with Iran and said it was a domestic issue.

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