Iran said on Tuesday it had appointed an ambassador to the United Arab Emirates for the first time since 2016, amid a realignment of relations between Gulf states and Iran.
The move comes in an effort by the UAE to improve relations and announce the return of its envoy to Tehran in August.
Following Saudi Arabia’s severing of ties with Iran in January 2016 as a result of Iranian protesters storming the Saudi embassy in Tehran following Riyadh’s execution of a famous Shiite cleric, the UAE downgraded relations with Iran.
Riyadh announced last month that it would reestablish relations with Tehran in an agreement brokered by China, marking a significant shift from years of hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia that had threatened stability and security in the Gulf and fueled conflicts in the Middle East from Yemen to Syria.
After attacks in Gulf waters and on Saudi energy sites, the UAE, which has had business and trade relations with Iran for more than a century, began re-engaging with Tehran in 2019.
Iran’s primary gateway to the outside world has long been the emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Iran’s newly appointed ambassador Reza Ameri had served as the director general of the Iranian expatriate’s office in the foreign ministry, Iranian state media said
Top Saudi, Iranian diplomats to meet in China
An Iranian official and a Saudi-owned newspaper reported that the top envoys for Saudi Arabia and Iran will meet in Beijing on Thursday as the two regional rivals work to determine the next stages of their diplomatic reconciliation following a deal brokered by China.
It will be the first official encounter between Saudi Arabia and Iran’s top diplomats in more than seven years when Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Hossein Amirabdollahian meet.
“The top envoys agreed to meet on April 6 in Beijing as the deal was facilitated by China,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters.
According to a source in Riyadh who was not named, the decision to choose China “came as an extension of Beijing’s positive role in reaching the agreement and facilitating communication between the two countries.”
The meeting will also cover the plans for the exchange of ambassadors, as well as the resumption of ties that was announced last month.