It has been more than six years since the Gulf Arab state downgraded its ties with Iran after protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions.
The UAE says its ambassador to Iran, Saif Mohammed Al Zaabi, will return to Tehran “in the coming days,” more than six years after the Gulf Arab state downgraded ties with Tehran.
Sunday’s announcement comes in line with the UAE’s efforts to strengthen ties with Iran “to achieve the common interests of the two countries and the wider region,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The UAE reduced ties with Tehran in 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions in Iran following the execution of Riyadh prominent Shia scholar Nimr al-Nimr.
Last week, the Emirati and Iranian foreign ministers had a phone call and they spoke about strengthening ties, UAE state media reported, where they discussed sending an ambassador back to Tehran.
Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian discussed ways to “strengthen bilateral ties and areas of cooperation to the benefit of both countries,” UAE state news agency WAM reported at the time.
Over the past year, Saudi Arabia has also sought to improve ties with Iran at a time when Gulf Arab states are closely watching efforts to revitalize Tehran Nuclear Pact 2015 with world powers they believe are flawed for failing to address their missile program.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi want an end to Tehran’s actions in the region, but also want to contain tensions as they focus on economic priorities.
The UAE’s business and trade ties with Iran date back more than a century, with the Emirate of Dubai long being one of Iran’s most important links to the outside world.
The Gulf state of Kuwait earlier this month appointed its first ambassador to Iran since 2016.
After that comes the warming of diplomatic relations The United Arab Emirates have normalized relations with Israel in September 2020. Three other Arab countries – Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – also established diplomatic relations with Israel under the so-called Abraham Accords brokered by the United States.
Even as the UAE normalized ties with Tehran’s regional enemy, Emirati officials have stepped up efforts to strengthen trade ties with Iran and reduce the threat from its regional proxies.
Earlier this year, drone and missile attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen hit Abu Dhabi, tarnishing the UAE’s reputation as a safe haven in a volatile region.