Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday accused the United Arab Emirates of betraying the Muslim world with its agreement to normalize relations with Israel, saying the “treason” was a “stain” on the country.
“The UAE betrayed the world of Islam, the Arab nations, the region’s countries, and Palestine,” said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “The treason will not last for long.”
“The Emiratis will be disgraced forever,” he said in his first reaction to the agreement between the UAE and Israel. “I hope they wake up and compensate for what they did.”
“The UAE rulers opened the door of the region to the Zionists,” Khamenei said.
Khamenei made his comments as an Israeli-US delegation wrapped up a landmark visit to Abu Dhabi.
Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations, in a US-brokered deal that required Israel to suspend its plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
The UAE is just the third Arab country to agree to establish official relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. Israeli and American officials have expressed hope that other Gulf Arab countries will soon follow suit, with relations based on mutual commercial and security interests and shared enmity toward Iran.
The UAE downgraded its relations with Iran in January 2016 amid rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic.
Tehran-Riyadh relations deteriorated further last year following a series of attacks on tankers in sensitive Gulf waters, which Washington blamed on Iran. Tehran denied the allegation.
Thr United Arab Emirate’s Foreign Ministry said last month it had summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in the country for a dressing down over Tehran’s threats and belligerent statements toward Abu Dhabi following the announcement of normalization.
The warning came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech in which he said the UAE had committed a “treacherous act” and faces a “dangerous future.”
Additionally, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces said Tehran’s attitude to the UAE in the Persian Gulf will change following the pact, warning that Tehran will hold Abu Dhabi responsible for any damage to its national security.
For its part, Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed that the deal would accelerate Israel’s demise.
The normalization deal deeply angered the Palestinians, who maintain Israel-Arab ties must be conditioned on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The United Arab Emirates has sought to reassure Palestinians that the burgeoning ties have not come at Ramallah’s expense, and that Abu Dhabi still supports the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.