Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani on Tuesday said he visited the UAE this week in the spirit of promoting cooperation and political consultations to “review regional issues with authorities,” Iranian pro-government media outlets reported.
He also met with key European counterparts, he wrote on Twitter, which raised eyebrows across the region, the reports said.
“Following diplomatic consultations with regional and extra-regional parties, we met with our German, French and English counterparts in Abu Dhabi and discussed a range of issues and mutual concerns,” Bagheri tweeted.
The meeting with the Europeans came in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron conducting a phone call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, as well as reports that US envoy Brett McGurk traveled to Oman to discuss issues relating to Iran.
“The three European countries [Germany, the UK and France] are signatories of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear accord and have remained in the defunct agreement after the United States pulled out in 2018,” Washington-based Iran International news channel reported. “During the Biden administration, however, their diplomatic approach has been more closely coordinated with Washington.”
In January, pro-regime Syrian Arab News Agency quoted Kani as saying: “Tehran insists on its principled position in negotiations to abolish sanctions and the embargo imposed on it.”
According to Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency, Bagheri said: “The negotiations are ongoing with no interruption, and issues related to them are being pursued seriously.”
Iran did outreach to the UAE in 2021
In November 2021, the Kani conducted similar outreach to the UAE. Anwar Gargash, a diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, said he hoped “it is soon,” London-based The New Arab news site reported at the time. Kani, who was then Iran’s top negotiator for the nuclear deal, met Gargash and other Emirati officials in November 2021.
This recent trip is part of a longer process. It dovetails with Iran-Saudi reconciliation and reports that France and the US are seeking to engage with Iran more than in the past.