Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Meeting comes after Saudi Arabia also held direct talks with Iran in an effort to resolve differences.

Tehran, Iran The UAE’s top national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is on a visit to Iran for high-level talks that are seen as a possible sign of thawing relations between the two countries.

Sheikh Tahnoon, a brother of the country’s de facto ruler and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, on Monday discussed the improvement of bilateral ties and developments in regional affairs in the capital Tehran.

He first met his counterpart Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), before meeting Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi.

According to an Iranian reading of the meeting, Shamkhani said the development of “warm and friendly” ties with neighbors is Iran’s top priority in foreign policy.

The head of security also stressed that countries in the region should not be affected by external influence and interference, and should work to end military and security crises through dialogue and not military action.

Shamkhani hoped that Sheikh Tahnoon’s visit “would be the beginning of a new chapter of relationships and create the grounds for expanding all ties”.

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen, a country engulfed by a severe humanitarian crisis.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have held four rounds of Iraq-mediated talks in Baghdad since April.

Both sets of foreign ministers also met on the sidelines of meetings of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September this year, but no further talks were announced.

During Monday’s meeting with Shamkhani, Sheikh Tahnoon was quoted as saying that the UAE also wanted to improve “warm and fraternal” ties with Iran as a geopolitical power.

He suggested that the two countries form expert working groups that would identify potential areas for promoting economic, transport, energy and health sector relations and possible obstacles to be removed.

The visit comes after Iran’s chief negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, visited Dubai in late November to meet with several senior Emirati officials.

He tweeted after the meetings that they had “agreed to open a new chapter” in bilateral relations.

Days later, Bagheri traveled to Vienna to lead the Iranian delegation in the seventh round of talks with world powers aimed at restoring Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal.

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