Iran has appointed a new ambassador to the United Arab Emirates shortly ahead of an expected meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia in China.
Iranian state media confirmed on Tuesday that the foreign ministry has selected Reza Ameri as the new envoy to the UAE after a gap of over seven years.Ameri was reportedly the director of the expatriates’ office of the foreign ministry and a former ambassador to Algeria, Sudan and Eritrea.
The UAE, which has a long history of economic ties with Iran, had downgraded diplomatic relations with Tehran after Saudi Arabia closed its diplomatic missions in 2016 when demonstrators attacked them following the execution of a prominent Shia leader by the Sunni-majority kingdom.
But the Saudi ally has increasingly re-engaged Iran in the past few years and appointed an ambassador to Tehran last year.
Iran’s move to appoint a UAE envoy came two days before an expected meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan, in Beijing on Thursday.In accordance with a trilateral agreement signed with China in Beijing last month, the two are expected to discuss practical steps to reopen their diplomatic missions shortly.
Meanwhile, the administration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has said he has accepted an invitation for a state visit to Saudi Arabia, the date of which remains unconfirmed.
Amirabdollahian told Al Jazeera last week that Iran also plans to extend an invitation to Saudi rulers.
Iran is also engaged in efforts to improve relations with other Arab nations of the region, who have in turn been open to diplomatically engaging with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Tehran.