Iran says relations with UAE turning ‘new page’

Tehran's top diplomat visited Abu Dhabi to offer condolences after death of Sheikh Khalifa

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian visited Abu Dhabi. Reuters
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Relations between the UAE and Iran are turning a “new page”, Tehran’s top diplomat said during a visit to Abu Dhabi this week.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian visited the Emirates to offer his condolences on the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa.

“Opening a new page in the relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Arab Emirates. The strengthening of ties with our neighbours disappoints regional enemies,” Mr Amirabdollahian said on Twitter.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi also sent his condolences to UAE leaders on the death of Sheikh Khalifa and congratulated the President, Sheikh Mohamed, on his election.

Mr Raisi said he hopes relations between the countries can grow in all fields.

World leaders and dignitaries have travelled to Abu Dhabi over the past few days to offer condolences and support.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, Britain's Prince William, US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken are among those who have come to pay their respects.

The visit by Mr Amirabdollahian is the highest-level trip by an Iranian official to the Gulf in years.

The UAE has been exploring the idea of greater engagement with Iran.

Last November, Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran's deputy foreign minister, visited the UAE and said the two countries had agreed to open a new chapter in bilateral relations.

Mr Kani, who is also Iran's top nuclear negotiator, met the UAE's Dr Anwar Gargash, who was the diplomatic adviser to Sheikh Khalifa, and Khalifa Al Marar, Minister of State.

Following the meeting, the UAE's state news agency Wam said the talks had “emphasised the importance of strengthening relations on the basis of good neighbourliness and mutual respect”.

“This should coincide within the framework of common interest and working towards achieving regional stability, prosperity, as well as developing economic and trade relations,” said a statement from the agency.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 6:51 PM