Iran Accuses UAE of Killing Fishermen as Israel Pact Hurts Ties
An Iranian national flag flies above the new Phase 3 facility at the Persian Gulf Star Co. (PGSPC) gas condensate refinery in Bandar Abbas, Iran. (Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg)

Iran Accuses UAE of Killing Fishermen as Israel Pact Hurts Ties

Iran summoned the United Arab Emirates’ envoy in Tehran after a deadly encounter between Emirati coast guards and Iranian fishing trawlers earlier this week.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran said the coast guards opened fire on Iranian fishing boats on Monday, killing two people and briefly seizing one of the ships. It also said in the statement that Iran had seized an unspecified UAE vessel the same day.

The ministry said that the UAE vessel had trespassed on Iranian maritime territory, and that the envoy had “expressed regret” over the incidents, without clarifying whether they were linked.

Iran was alarmed last week to learn that Israel and the UAE intend to normalize relations. The historic agreement denounced by Tehran marked a major shift in the region’s strategic alliances, and will give Iran’s top regional foe, Israel, an official commercial and political presence on its doorstep.

While the incidents at sea this week did not trigger a major escalation, their timing raises the specter of possible Israeli involvement in such showdowns in the future.

Right now, Iran’s main confrontation is with the U.S., which intends on Thursday to ask the United Nations Security Council to snap back international sanctions in an attempt to kill off what remains of Tehran’s frayed nuclear deal with world powers. The U.S., which quit the accord in 2018, lost a Security Council vote to renew an arms embargo on Iran last week, and other world powers say they won’t go along with the proposal to reinstate sanctions, either.

Hours before the Security Council faceoff, Iran unveiled new ballistic missiles able to reach Israel, including one named after a top general assassinated by the U.S. in January. Iran already has missiles capable of striking Israel.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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