ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 139

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Following Tehran-Riyadh rapprochement, Iranian official holds talks in Abu Dhabi

Ali Shamkhani says his visit to the United Arab Emirates is ‘a meaningful beginning for the two countries to enter a new stage of political, economic and security relations’

The head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, at a meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran on June, 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
The head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, at a meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran on June, 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates’ national security adviser held talks Thursday in Abu Dhabi with his Iranian counterpart, whose visit to the UAE comes days after a surprise rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh.

Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a brother of the UAE’s president, received Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, the official WAM news agency said.

The two officials discussed “bilateral relations and opportunities to advance them in a way that serves the mutual interests of the two countries,” WAM said, without elaborating.

Sheikh Tahnoun previously met Shamkhani on a visit to Iran in 2021, the first trip of its kind since relations between the two countries were downgraded in 2016.

Shamkhani called his UAE visit “a meaningful beginning for the two countries to enter a new stage of political, economic and security relations,” Iran’s state news agency IRNA said.

His visit came after Iran and Saudi Arabia announced a Chinese-brokered deal on Friday to end a seven-year rupture in diplomatic ties.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, at right, shakes hands with Saudi national security adviser Musaad bin Mohammed al-Aiban, at left, as Wang Yi, China’s most senior diplomat, looks on, at center, for a photo during a closed meeting held in Beijing, March 11, 2023. (Luo Xiaoguang/Xinhua via AP)

Shamkhani had traveled to Beijing for intensive talks with his Saudi counterpart ahead of the shock announcement.

“We should try to increase the security, peace and well-being of the people of the region through dialogue and interaction… while preventing foreigners from playing a non-constructive role,” Shamkhani said during Thursday’s meeting with Sheikh Tahnoun, IRNA reported.

In 2016, the UAE and other Gulf states scaled back their ties with Tehran after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions in Iran following Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Despite the diplomatic downgrade, the oil-rich UAE maintained strong economic ties with Iran.

Last year, the UAE’s ambassador in Tehran resumed his duties after a six-year absence, while in September, Iran’s top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran wanted to broaden relations with the UAE.

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