Amid improving relations between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf state has released $700 million of frozen funds to Tehran in recent days, an Iranian MP said Sunday.
Akbar Torki told Iranian media that “Emiratis have… understood that Western countries and Saudi Arabia cannot provide the country with security in current circumstances,” according to a translation by the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed website.
He said the UAE’s “currency relations with Iran have improved and some Iranian exchange offices in Dubai have resumed activity.”
Gulf Arab nations are believed to be recalculating their relations with Tehran over Washington’s Mideast policies.
After US President Donald Trump backed down from retaliating over Iran shooting down a US military surveillance drone in June, the UAE has made efforts to ease tensions with Tehran by sending officials there. It also began pulling its troops out of a yearslong, Saudi-led war in Yemen against rebels backed by Iran.
And Trump’s withdrawal of American forces from Syria, after apparently acquiescing to Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish territory, has sown further doubts as to his commitment to his allies in the region.
Multiple media reports earlier this month indicated that the Saudis too have been quietly moving towards rapprochement with the Islamic Republic due to their lack of confidence in Trump.
“The worst outcome for the Saudis is to move to a confrontation with Iran expecting the US to support them and find out they won’t,” Philip Gordon, a former White House Middle East coordinator told the New York Times. “This administration has shown it’s not really ready to take on Iran.”
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently told CBS that the kingdom is “open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen.” That’s a long way from another CBS interview last year in which he compared to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Israel is also said concerned that Iran, emboldened by US reluctance to act militarily in the region, will carry out attacks against the Jewish state.