Arab League–Iran relations
Arab League–Iran relations
Within the Middle East
, historical conflicts have always coloured neighbouring Arab countries
' perceptions about Iran. At times peacefully coexisting, while at other times in bitter conflict. North African countries have generally enjoyed closer relations due to limited historical connection between them and Iran.
Bilateral relations with Iran
After the Iranian Revolution
the foreign policy of Iran changed dramatically. In many cases diplomatically inimical Arab nations became more cooperative with Iran, while some formerly supportive nations decreased their support.
, leader of the revolution, founder of the Islamic Republic
of Iran, and its first Supreme Leader
, declared that, "The concept of monarchy totally contradicts Islam
." Therefore, Arab leaders
developed a hostile attitude towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khomeini's idea of supporting the mustazafeen
(those who are wronged or oppressed) – as opposed to the mustakbareen
(those who are arrogant) – led to many problems with neighboring countries due to some Arab regimes being judged by Iranian jurists to be among the mustakbareen
Khomeini was open about his intention to export the revolution to other parts of the Muslim world. Thus, during the early 1980s, Iran was isolated regionally and internationally. This diplomatic and economic isolation intensified during the Iran–Iraq War
in which almost all neighboring Arab states, except Syria
, supported Iraq logistically and economically. According to some observers, Saddam Hussein
fought on behalf of other Arab states that viewed Iran as a potential threat to their stability.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the revolutionary zeal cooled and a degree of pragmatism was adopted by Iranian policy makers. During the presidency of Akbar Hashemi
and Mohammad Khatami
, Iranian foreign policy switched to reducing international tensions and Iran tried to normalize its relations with its Arab neighbors. When the United States attacked Iraq in the Gulf War
of the early 1990s, it unintentionally promoted Iran's political influence in the Middle East.
Since 2000 the situation has changed completely. The most significant factor was the United States administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2003
, which led to the fall of Saddam, a Ba'athist leader with pan-Arab sympathies who was determined to balance Shi'a
Iran's regional influence. With the deposition of Saddam, Iran found a major obstacle to its expansion removed. This gave Iran a good chance to emerge as a major player in the Middle East. As Richard Haass
stated in 2006, "Iran will be one of the two most powerful states in the region. ... The influence of Iran and groups associated with it has been reinforced."
Iran could find allies in Arab world comprising Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia
and United Arab Emirates
united against Iran, with support from the United States. Other Arab countries continued to have normal relations with Iran.
Another aspect of tension between Iran and Arab countries has been sectarianism. During the early days of the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini endeavored to bridge the gap between Shias and Sunnis by forbidding criticizing the Caliphs who preceded Ali. He also declared it permissible for Shiites to pray behind Sunni imams
. However, the influence of Iran on Shiite communities outside its borders and the territorial disputes with Arab neighbors among other issues remain sources of tension in Arab-Iranian relations.
Diplomatic cables leaked
in 2010 revealed Arab leaders singled out Iran as the greatest threat to regional stability, yet refuse to speak publicly, telling US diplomats in private, they would face domestic troubles if they were seen as siding with the West against a Muslim country.
The cables showed that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain supported a military attack against Iran aimed to stop the Iranian nuclear program
On 4 January 2016, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Iran. Saudi Arabia cited attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran following predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shiite cleric. Bahrain cited Iran's "blatant and dangerous interference" in Bahrain and other Arab countries.
Following the Iranian Revolution
, in 1981 Algeria's role was instrumental in the release of the US diplomatic hostages held in Iran
In 1998 Iran became increasingly critical of Algeria's heavy handed security forces, especially during several massacres during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan
and led efforts to pressure Algeria to act more humanely through the international community.
Algeria in turn blamed Iran for the massacre.
After a decade, in early September 2000, diplomatic and trade relations between Algeria and Iran were re-established in a decision made by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika
on the sidelines of the United Nations Millennium Summit
The resumption of relations paved the way for number of agreements "on bilateral cooperation in the areas of judicial affairs, finance, industry, and air transport".
Relations continued to strengthen rapidly after that to the extent that in 2002 Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani
and Algerian Joint Chief of Staff Muhamed al-Imari Wednesday signed and agreement for military and technical cooperation in Iran.
In the recent 2006 UN vote on Iran's nuclear programme
, Algeria abstained from voting.
Iran had a historic claim to Bahrain until March 1970 when Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
abandoned the claim as a result of secret Anglo-Iranian negotiations.
Following this realignment of policy, the two countries signed a demarcation agreement in 1970.
Following the Iranian Revolution
, Bahraini Shia
fundamentalists in 1981 orchestrated a failed coup attempt
under the auspices of a front organisation, the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain
. The coup would have installed a Shia
cleric exiled in Iran, Hujjat al-Islam Hādī al-Mudarrisī, as supreme leader heading a theocratic government. The Bahraini government unofficially regarded the coup as Iran attempting to overthrow their Sunni
government. Iran denied all knowledge saying the fundamentalists were inspired by the Iranian revolution but had received no support from Iran. Fearful of a recurrence, the episode caused Bahrain to crack down on its Shia population putting thousands into jail and further souring relations with Shia Iran. Recently[when?]
the countries are beginning to enjoy closer relations again and have engaged in many joint economic ventures.
Iran has been severely critical of Bahrain hosting the US
navy Fifth Fleet within the Persian Gulf
In August 2015 Bahraini authorities announced arresting of five members of a terrorist group which was linked to at least one bombing attack in Bahrain
and was believed to accept aid and training from Lebanese Hezbollah
and Iran-based Revolutionary Guards
On 4 January 2016, Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Iran, citing Iran's "blatant and dangerous interference" in Bahrain and other Arab countries. This directly followed Saudi Arabia's dissolution of diplomatic ties with Iran.
In 2014 AFP
reported the Libyan and Iranian embassies in Moroni
, had problems with registering their claim to the property in the capital Moroni, because Comoros gave the same property to both countries for building their embassies .
In January, 2016, Comoros recalled their ambassador from Iran in an expression of cooperation and solidarity with Saudi Arabia
.Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi
, one of the former presidents of Comoros was a graduate from the Islamic seminaries at Qom
According to the Tehran-based Tabnak
news agency, while Sambi was there he studied under Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi
In November 2014, Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani inaugurated new building of Djibouti Parliament
built by Iran.
Djibouti cut its diplomatic ties with Iran out of solidarity with Saudi Arabia after Riyadh cut off diplomatic relations with Iran on 3 January 2016.
The countries had previously signed trade agreements to increase trade in 2005. In 2006, while on an official visit to Iran, Djiboutian president Ismaïl Omar Guelleh
stated that Iran had expressed interest to expand cooperation on defense issues in the future. In the same year the President also supported Iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
In 1939, diplomatic relations between Egypt and Iran
were upgraded to ambassadorial level, and Youssef Zulficar Pasha
was appointed as Egypt's first ambassador in Tehran
. In the same year, Princess Fawzia
of Egypt, the sister of King Farouk I
, married Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, the then crown prince (later shah) of Iran. The relationship between Iran and Egypt had fallen into open hostility under Gamal Abdul Nasser
presidency. Following his death in 1970, President Sadat turned this around quickly into an open and cordial friendship. In 1971, Sadat addressed the Iranian parliament in Tehran in fluent Persian
, describing the 2500-year-old historic connectivity between the two nations. Overnight, Egypt and Iran were turned from bitter enemies into fast friends. The relationship between Cairo
became so friendly that the Shah
of Iran (Persia), Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, called Sadat his "dear brother." After the 1973 war with Israel, Iran assumed a leading role in cleaning up and reactivating the blocked Suez Canal
with heavy investment. Iran also facilitated the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Sinai Peninsula
by promising to substitute with free Iranian oil the loss of the oil to the Israelis if they withdrew from the Egyptian oil wells in Western Sinai. All these added more to the personal friendship between Sadat and the Shah of Iran.
Once again, relations between the two countries collapsed with the sudden eruption of the Iranian Revolution
in Iran in 1978–79. When the Shah fell, Egypt was bound to disapprove of his replacement, Ruhollah Khomeini
, who returned the sentiment in full measure. Furthermore, in 1979, Anwar Sadat
infuriated the new Iranian government by welcoming Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, the exiled Shah of Iran
, for a short, but indefinite, stay.
In 1979, Iran officially cut all ties with Egypt.
This move was a response to the 1978 Camp David Accords
, as well as Egypt's support for Iraq in the Iran–Iraq War
In 1981, Iran symbolically dedicated a street to Khaled Islambouli
, Sadat's assassin.
While trade relations slowly improved during the 1990s,
Khaled al-Islambouli was honored for a second time in 2001 "with a huge new mural" in Tehran.
Two years later, in late 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami
met with the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
in Geneva. Khatami openly invited Mubarak to Iran, but Mubarak refused to make such a trip or normalize relations until all "public tributes" to Islambouli were "erased". In early 2004, Iran agreed to change the offending street name to Muhammad al-Durrah
, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy.
In 2010, WikiLeaks
leaked diplomatic cables
which revealed that Mubarak expressed animosity toward Iran in private meetings, saying the Iranian leaders are "big, fat liars", and that Iran's backing of terrorism is "well-known".
According to one American report, Mubarak views Iran as the primary long-term challenge facing Egypt, and an Egyptian official said that Iran is running agents inside Egypt in an effort to subvert the Egyptian regime.
On 17 September 1980, after the Islamic Revolution
in Iran settled down, Iraq under Saddam Hussein
declared the previous settlement of border disputes with Iran
null and void. Several days later on 22 September, Iraq invaded Iran in the Iran–Iraq War
. Lasting until 1988, the brutal war killed over one million people and critically soured Arab–Iranian relations. The Iranian government officially viewed the conflict not as Arab vs. Iranian but from a religious perspective of Shia
, although many in Iran did view the conflict as an Arab versus Iran issue. In Iraq, the conflict was continually presented in a historical context as Arab versus Persian
. The impact of the war was devastating to relations in the region; general Arab support for Iraq and a fear of Shia Muslims led to many disputes between Iran and the other Persian Gulf states
. The war was a primary cause for the rise of anti-Arabism within Iran
, which had until then been largely insignificant. The war ended with a UN-sponsored cease-fire.
In 1980, Iran cut all ties with Jordan after the outbreak of Iran–Iraq War
. Relations between the two nations resumed in 1991. In September 2000, King Abdullah
met with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami
on the sidelines of the Millennium Summit
in New York.
Shortly thereafter, trade between Jordan and Iran increased dramatically. According to figures from Jordan's Central Bank, "trade between Jordan and Iran reached $20 million in 2001, up some 46 percent on the previous year's $13.7 million."
On 2 and 3 September 2003, King Abdullah II visited Tehran, making him the first Jordanian king to visit "Tehran since the launching of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979".
and Iran share close diplomatic
, economic, and military
ties, which is unusual for a Sunni Arab state and even more unusual for a U.S. ally even it is sporadic. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Kuwaiti Prime Minister then Sabah Al-Sabah
(the future Emir of Kuwait) visited Iran and congratulated the Iranian Revolution. However, this quickly turned sour when Kuwait supported Iraq on its war against Iran
, and there had been no official relations between Kuwait and Iran for nearly 10 years after it started to fear about the threat from the legacy of Iranian Revolution.
In 1990, following the Gulf War
, Iraqi–Kuwaiti relations suffered bitterly and consequently Kuwaiti–Iranian relations began to greatly improve and flourish. Bilateral relations were gradually strengthened, partly because Iran and Kuwait were both invaded by Saddam Hussein
and with exchanges of Iranian and Kuwaiti political and economic delegations leading to the signing of several economic and trade agreements. In February 2006, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
visited Kuwait opening a new chapter in relations between the two countries. The well reported visit was the first to Kuwait by a high-ranking Iranian official in 27 years.
Iran has close ties with Lebanon and considers it an ally. Iran also has close ties with the Lebanese political party Hezbollah
and its militia force
to whom it reportedly provides as much as $100 million in supplies and weaponry per year.
Iran has been a staunch supporter of both Lebanon and Hezbollah against Israel.
The official Lebanese government has several agreements with the Iranian government, which includes energy cooperation. The foreign ministers of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria supported Iran's nuclear work, calling for Israel to be stripped of its nuclear arsenal
. Israel is believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear weapons arsenal. Like Lebanon, Iran refuses to recognize Israel.
Following American threats to cut off funding for the Lebanese Army
should it not be verified that Hezbollah would be kept from getting access to it, Lebanon's then Defense Minister Elias Murr
set up a fund to ask for donations to the armed forces. A few weeks later, Lebanese president Michel Suleiman
asked Iran to consider selling advanced military equipment to the Lebanese Army.
Hezbollah supported the president's call.
The next day, Iran's then Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi
expressed readiness to offer military aid to Lebanon.
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In 1981, Iran cut off all diplomatic ties with Rabat
in response to King Hassan II
's decision to give asylum to the exiled Shah. A decade later, diplomatic relations between the two nations were renewed, but another decade would have to pass before Abderrahmane Youssoufi
, the prime minister of Morocco, would lead the first Moroccan delegation to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The posture of Iran about the Western Sahara
dispute had been heavily influenced by its diplomatic relations with the neighbouring countries, Morocco and Algeria. Since late January 1979, the deposed Shah of Persia
, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, had been granted asylum in Morocco by Hassan II
, who refused to repatriate him back to Iran to be judged,
causing finally the break of relations between Iran and Morocco in 1981. Previously, on 27 February 1980, Iran gave formal diplomatic recognition to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
as the legitimate government of the territory of Western Sahara
. The support to the Polisario Front
continued during the 1980s, allowing the Sahrawi
national liberation movement to open a diplomatic representation in Tehran
and Iran share close diplomatic
, economic, and military
ties. According to Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service
, "Oman has a tradition of cooperation with Iran dating back to the Shah of Iran
's regime and Oman has always been less alarmed by the perceived threat from Iran than have the other Gulf states." Unlike the majority of its Gulf neighbors
, Oman managed to uphold diplomatic relations with both sides during the Iran–Iraq War
from 1980–1988 and strongly supported UN Security Council resolutions to end the conflict. Secret cease-fire talks between the two adversaries were held in Muscat
during the war, and although an agreement was never reached during these talks, they did reduce distrust on both sides. Moreover, after the war, Oman mediated talks to restore diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia and Iran and the United Kingdom.
During the Persian Gulf War
, Iran–Oman relations were damaged after Iran began running attacks on tanker movements in the Persian Gulf
and placed anti-ship missile launchers along the Strait of Hormuz
. The Gulf neighbors have since restored their ties and have conducted joint military exercises as recently as February 2011. Oman's leader Sultan Qaboos
traveled to Iran in 2009 for the first time since Iran's 1979 revolution
. Though on two occasions the U.S. has dispatched high-level officials to discuss Iran with Oman, the fact that Oman has avoided publicly expressing any concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program is likely a reason why the two states have managed to maintain strong ties.
In addition to strong diplomatic and political ties, Iran and Oman cooperate economically on several fronts, including energy. Most recently, the Gulf neighbors signed an initial agreement to begin supplying large quantities of natural gas from Iran to Oman, a project that was earlier reported to be worth between $7–12 billion. In addition to these major economic projects, the two countries have opened a joint bank to facilitate their mutual financial dealings, agreed to develop the Kish and Hengam gas fields in the Gulf, and signed a memorandum of understanding
for a potential joint petrochemical project valued at $800 million.
About Iran nuclear program
, the Omani government official position on Iran's nuclear program is as follows: "The sultanate hopes Washington will engage in a 'direct dialogue' with Teheran to resolve the crisis over the Iranian nuclear program. The sultanate has no reason not to believe Iran's assurances that its program has purely civilian purposes. This region, no doubt, does not want to see any military confrontation or any tension".
Iran (after the 1979 Iranian Revolution) closed the Israeli embassy in Tehran and replaced it with a Palestinian embassy. Iran favors Palestinian national ambitions and officially endorses the replacement of Israel with a unitary Palestinian state or whatever choice the Palestinian people decide through a democratic vote.
Several Palestinian groups, including Hamas
, are Iranian allies. The Iranian government also gives substantial assistance to the Hamas
government in Gaza
, which depends on outside sources for an estimated 90% of its budget. Iranian support has not been unconditional however, and in July and August 2011 Iran cut funding to show its displeasure at "Hamas's failure to hold public rallies in support" of Syrian
President Bashir al-Assad
during the 2011 Syrian uprising
. In part for this reason, Hamas was unable to pay July salaries of its "40,000 civil service and security employees."
Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and instead regards it as 'Palestine under occupation'. During the era of the Iranian Monarchy (1948–1979) under the Pahlavi Dynasty, Iran enjoyed cordial relations with Israel. Israel regarded Iran, a non-Arab power on the periphery of the Arab world, as a natural ally and counterweight to Arab ambitions as part of David Ben-Gurion
's alliance of the periphery
. Even after the Iranian Revolution and Ayatollah Khomeini's public condemnations of the "Zionist entity
". Iran suggests that all Israeli 'occupied territory' is either given back to their respective countries (ex. Golan Heights
back to Syria) or is replaced with a Palestinian state. Iran also feels that Jerusalem should given to the Palestinians.
In 1969, Iran and Qatar signed a demarcation agreement.
Throughout the Iran–Iraq War
(1980–1988), Qatar supported Saddam Hussein's Iraq financially by providing large loans and cash gifts. Iran's claim in May 1989 that one-third of Qatar's North Field gas reservoir lay under Iranian waters apparently was resolved by an agreement to exploit the field jointly.
Qatar has maintained cordial relations with Iran. In 1991, following the end of the Persian Gulf War
, former emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa
welcomed Iranian participation in Persian Gulf security arrangements, however due to resistance from other Persian Gulf Arab States
, these never came into fruition. However, Qatar maintains security cooperation with Iran through bilateral ties. Additionally, plans were being formulated in 1992 to pipe water from the Karun River in Iran to Qatar, but after local resistance in Iran this was laid to rest.
The Iranian community in Qatar, although large, is well integrated and has not posed a threat to the regime. As of 2012 relations between the two countries were cordial.
Following the outbreak of the Iran–Iraq War
, Iranian pilgrims held a political demonstration about Saudi moving in direction of United States and do not take any action against Israel during the Hajj
. In 1987 they succeeded; however, Saudi police
crushed the demonstration violently causing the Iranian pilgrims to riot
. Immediately following the riot, Ruhollah Khomeini
called for Muslims to avenge the pilgrims' deaths by overthrowing the Saudi royal family
. The Saudi government blamed the riot on the Iranian pilgrims and claimed that the pilgrim riot had been part of a plot to destabilize their rule. The following day mobs attacked the Saudi embassies in Tehran.
In 2001, Iran and Saudi Arabia signed a "major security accord to combat drug trafficking and organized crime".
On 4 January 2016, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran, following attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran after predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shiite cleric. This was directly followed by Bahrain's dissolution of diplomatic ties with Iran.
In 1991, "there was evidence of increasing economic and military links between Sudan and Iran... Some 2,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards were allegedly dispatched to Sudan to assist with the training of the Sudanese army
, and in December President Rafsanjani of Iran made an official visit to Sudan, during which a trade agreement between the two countries was concluded. In November 1993 Iran was reported to have financed Sudan's purchase of some 20 Chinese ground-attack aircraft. In April 1996 the Government was reported to be granting the Iranian navy the use of marine facilities in exchange for financial assistance for the purchase of arms although, in response to a Sudanese request for military aid in 1997, Iran provided assistance only with military maintenance."
During the last week of April 2006, Sudanese President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir
met with a number of Iranian public figures in Tehran, including the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
. In a joint news conference with al-Bashir on 24 April, Ahmadinejad explained to the public his belief that "expansion of ties between the two countries serves the interests of both nations, the region, and the Islamic world, particularly in terms of boosting peace and stability." Before the conference ended, al-Bashir congratulated Iran for its successful pursuit of "nuclear power for peaceful purposes," while Ahmadinejad restated his opposition to the participation of UN Peacekeepers
On 16 June 2006 the defence ministers of Iran and Syria signed an agreement for military cooperation against what they called the "common threats" presented by Israel and the United States. Details of the agreement were not specified, however Syrian defense minister Najjar said "Iran
considers Syria's security its own security, and we consider our defense capabilities to be those of Syria." The visit also resulted in the sale of Iranian military hardware to Syria.
In addition to receiving military hardware, Iran has consistently invested billions of dollars into the Syrian economy.
The Syrian leadership, including President Assad himself, belongs predominantly to the Alawite
branch of Shi'a Islam. Currently, Iran is involved in implementing several industrial projects in Syria, including cement factories, car assembly lines, power plants, and silo construction. Iran also plans to set up a joint Iranian–Syrian bank in the future.
In February 2007, Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
and Bashar al-Assad
met in Tehran. Ahmadinejad afterwards declared that they would form an alliance to combat US and Israeli conspiracies against the Islamic world.
During the Syrian Civil War
, Iran has aided the Syrian government. The Guardian
has claimed that in 2011 the Iranian Revolutionary Guard
increased its "level of technical support and personnel support" to strengthen Syria's "ability to deal with protesters," according to one diplomat in Damascus
Iran reportedly assisted the Syrian government sending it riot control equipment, intelligence monitoring techniques and oil.
It also agreed to fund a large military base at Latakia
airport.The Daily Telegraph
has claimed in 2011 that a former member of Syria's secret police reported "Iranian snipers" had been deployed in Syria to assist in the crackdown on protests.
According to the US government, Mohsen Chizari, the Quds Force
's third-in-command, has visited Syria to train security services to fight against the protestors.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
, stated in regards to the uprising: "In Syria, the hand of America and Israel is evident;" and in regards to the al-Assad government: "Wherever a movement is Islamic, populist, and anti-American, we support it."
Other Iranian officials have made similar pronouncements identifying the US government as the origin of the uprising.
However, in late August, the Iranian government gave its "first public sign" of concern over Syrian's handling of its crisis when foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi
issued a statement including the Syrian government in the list of states he urged to "answer to the demands of its people."
Following labour unrest led by the Tunisian General Labour Union
throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, in 1987 President Bourguiba instigated a massive purge of Tunisian politics under the pretext of a "terrorist conspiracy" sponsored by Iran. Iran protested and diplomatic relations were promptly broken. On 27 September 1987, a state security court found 76 defendants guilty of plotting against the government and planting bombs; seven (five in absentia) were sentenced to death.
In September 1990, Tunisia and Iran restored diplomatic relations once again. Relations remained unchanged until June 1999, when the speaker of the Tunisian Parliament, Fouad Mebazaa
, became the first Tunisian official to visit Iran since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. His visit was intended to reflect "the rapid improvement in bilateral relations since the setting up of the joint committee for cooperation on the level of the foreign ministers in the mid-1990s".
By 2000, trade relations between the two nations reached USD
The following year, on 19 April 2001, Tunisian prime minister Muhammad al-Ghanoushe visited Tehran on "an official visit" to sign a new joint trade agreement with his counterpart.
United Arab Emirates
Iranian investors have a wide presence in the UAE and account for 10 percent of the Arab country's population. Based on recent statistics, nearly 400,000 Iranians live in the UAE
running 10,000 small business firms. Trade between Dubai and Iran tripled to $12 billion from 2005 to 2009.
Following the 1979 Revolution in Iran, the UAE has been pushing for the return of the islands. The countries maintain very close economic ties and the UAE has a significant Iranian expatriate community.
Outstanding conflicts are:
- UAE claims two islands in the Persian Gulf currently held by Iran: Lesser Tunb (called Tunb al Sughra in Arabic by UAE and Tonb-e Kuchak in Persian by Iran) and Greater Tunb (called Tunb al Kubra in Arabic by UAE and Tonb-e Bozorg in Persian by Iran);
- UAE claims island in the Persian Gulf jointly administered with Iran (called Abu Musa in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Abu Musa in Persian by Iran) – over which Iran has taken steps to exert unilateral control since 1992, including access restrictions and a military build-up on the island.
However, Iran has criticized the UAE for allowing France to develop its first permanent base in the Persian Gulf region there.
Recently, despite the spread of false information by neighboring countries and outsider powers, UAE has been seeking to ease tensions with Iran, as they are two of the most strategic partners in terms of economy and politics.
Yemen and Iran have full diplomatic and trade relations. Following the first two decades of the 1979 Revolution, ties between Tehran and Sana'a were never strong, but in recent years the two countries have attempted to settle their differences.
One sign of this came on 2003-12-02, when the Yemeni foreign ministry announced that "Yemen welcomes Iran's request to participate in the Arab League as an observer member."
On 10 May 2006, "the Yemeni ambassador to Iran Jamal al-Salal met... with the Iranian deputy foreign minister for the Arab and North Africa Affairs Mohammad Baqiri and the deputy assistant of the foreign minister for educational affairs and researches Mohammadi respectively. The meeting centered on boosting mutual cooperation between the two countries and means to reinforce them. The talks also dealt with issues of common interest at the regional and Islamic levels."
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