Iran appoints ambassador to UAE for first time in eight years

TEHRAN (Reuters): In a major development, Iran has appointed an ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the first time in eight years.

Reza Ameri, the newly appointed ambassador, has formerly served as the director general of the Iranian expatriates’ office in the foreign ministry.

The development comes weeks after Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after years of tensions between the two countries, including a devastating attack on the heart of the kingdom’s oil production attributed to Tehran.

The deal, struck in Beijing this week amid its ceremonial National People’s Congress, represented a major diplomatic victory for the Chinese as Gulf states perceive the United States slowly withdrawing from the wider Middle East. It also came as diplomats have been trying to end a yearslong war in Yemen, a conflict in which both Iran and Saudi Arabia are deeply entrenched.

Since then, it seems the heads of state in both countries have extended official invitations to one another.

The bilateral ties had soured after Saudi Arabia severed ties with Tehran in January 2016 following the Kingdom’s execution of prominent human rights activist and outspoken Riyadh critic Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr.

Following an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, several Arab countries reflected their views on the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia most notably the UAE, Egypt, and Qatar. The countries touched on the subject by expressing hope for the future.

Last month, Iran’s Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani visited the UAE and met with President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.