Iran Warns UAE Ties Will Fundamentally Change Over Israel Pact

Iran’s approach to the United Arab Emirates won’t be the same now that it’s working to normalize ties with Israel, the chief of the Islamic Republic’s armed forces warned.

“Certainly the Iranian nation’s approach to this neighboring country will fundamentally change, and the armed forces of the Islamic Republic will also look at this country with different calculations,” Brigadier General Mohammad Bagheri said, according to the Tasnim news agency.

“If anything were to happen in the Persian Gulf that poses the slightest threat to Iran’s national security, we will see the UAE as responsible and we won’t tolerate it,” he added.

The pact between the UAE and Israel marks a historic shift for the Middle East as the Jewish state achieves official legitimacy and broad commercial ties in the heart of the Persian Gulf for the first time. Underpinning the rapprochement is a shared distrust of Iran, its nuclear program and its growing influence in the Middle East through a network of militant proxies.

Tehran has strongly condemned Thursday’s announcement of normalization plans but hasn’t yet taken any punitive steps against the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms including commercial hub Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi.

While relations between Iran and the UAE have deteriorated since U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic in 2018, the two Persian Gulf nations share a long and rich history of trade and cultural ties, defined by their proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, an oil chokepoint.

Dubai in particular hosts a significant Iranian population, and efforts have been underway for the past year to repair relations. On Friday the UAE sought to distance itself from U.S. and Israeli statements that the deal serves to confront and isolate Iran.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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