Iran's top security official in UAE to seek stronger ties



Iran's top security official held high-level talks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday as Tehran seeks greater outreach to Gulf states amid mounting tensions with the West over the country's nuclear work and its drone sales to Russia.

The visit by Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani comes days after Tehran and Riyadh reached a China-facilitated deal to re-establish relations and re-open embassies within two months after years of hostility.

"Considering the suitable platforms that have been created since a year ago for the development of relations between Iran and the UAE, I see this trip as a new stage for political, economic and security relations," said Shamkhani in Abu Dhabi, Iranian state media reported.

The UAE had downgraded its diplomatic ties with Iran after Riyadh severed its ties with Tehran in 2016 following the storming of the Saudi embassy in the Islamic Republic by hardline protesters over Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shi'ite cleric.

After years of animosity on different sides of geo-political rivalries, the UAE started re-engaging with Tehran in 2019.

It resulted in upgraded diplomatic ties last year between Iran and the UAE, which has business and trade ties with Tehran stretching back more than a century, with the Dubai emirate long being one of Iran's main links to the outside world.