DUBAI, March 15 (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday, Nour News, which is affiliated with the Iranian top security body, reported.
His visit to Abu Dhabi comes at a time of growing rapprochement between Iran and Gulf countries. Last week, Shamkhani took part in talks brokered by China that resulted in Saudi Arabia and Iran resuming diplomatic ties after they were suspended in 2016.
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News of the visit came as Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, Mohammed al-Jadaan, said that Saudi investment in Iran could happen “very quickly” following last week’s agreement.
Shamkhani’s trip to the UAE highlights growing ties between Tehran and Abu Dhabi since the latter sent an ambassador back to Iran in September, more than six years after the Gulf Arab state downgraded ties with the Islamic Republic.
“Shamkhani will travel to Abu Dhabi on Thursday in response to an official invitation by his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss bilateral, regional, and international issues,” Nour News said on Wednesday.
“Top economic, banking and security officials will accompany the Supreme National Security Council secretary to the UAE,” it added.
Al-Jadaan, speaking at the first private sector forum of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, said Iran presented investment opportunities.
“There are a lot of opportunities for Saudi investments in Iran. We don’t see impediments as long as the terms of any agreement would be respected,” al-Jadaan said.
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Meanwhile China, which hosted the latest round of Saudi-Iranian discussions, on Wednesday announced the beginning of joint maritime drills in the Gulf of Oman with the Russian and Iranian navies.
The exercises, which will go on until Sunday, are the fourth of their type since the three countries started such operations in 2019.
The UAE downgraded its ties with Iran after Saudi Arabia severed its relations with Iran in January 2016 following the storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran by Iranian protesters after Riyadh executed a prominent Shi’ite cleric.
The UAE has business and trade ties with Iran stretching back more than a century, with the Dubai emirate long being one of Iran’s main links to the outside world.
(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Tom Hogue and Raissa Kasolowsky)