TEHRAN: Iran said on Monday it hopes to expand ties with the United Arab Emirates after Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected president of the Gulf country following his half-brother’s death.

The two countries downgraded diplomatic relations in 2016 following the severance of ties between Iran and Gulf Arab heavyweight Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the UAE.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Monday congratulated Sheikh Mohamed on his election as president of the UAE, according to a presidency statement. Raisi “expressed hope that the foundation of the development and progress of relations between the two countries... which was laid during the time of late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will be expanded with wisdom and in line with the interests of the two countries”, it said.

He said he hoped to see “increased deepening of mutual relations in all fields” between the two countries, the statement read.

Kamala Harris leading high-level US delegation to meet Mohamed bin Zayed

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian left Tehran for Abu Dhabi on Monday to offer condolences over the late Emirati president’s death, according to the ministry.

The Iranian president had on Saturday also sent a message of condolences to the UAE on the death of Sheikh Khalifa.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Kamala Harris was Monday leading a high-level delegation to meet the UAE’s new president, following months of strained ties between Washington and the oil-rich Gulf state.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022

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