Iran has condemned a deal establishing full diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, calling it a stab in the back to all Muslims.
Tehran, in the foreign ministry statement on Friday, called the normalising of ties between the two countries a dangerous, “shameful” measure and warned the UAE against Israel interfering in the “political equations” of the Gulf region.
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“The UAE government and other accompanying governments must accept responsibility for all the consequences of this action,” the statement said.
The move was an act of “strategic stupidity from Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv that will undoubtedly strengthen the resistance axis in the region”, it added.
“The oppressed people of Palestine and all the free nations of the world will never forgive the normalising of relations with the criminal Israeli occupation regime and the complicity in its crimes.”
‘Daggar in the back’
In a deal brokered by the US, the UAE and Israel announced on Thursday they agreed to establish full diplomatic ties and Israel will delay plans for annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
The agreement makes the UAE the first Gulf Arab state – and the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan – to have full diplomatic ties with Israel. They announced it in a joint statement, saying deals between Israel and the UAE were expected in the coming weeks in such areas as tourism, direct flights and embassies.
The ministry statement called the deal a “dagger that was unjustly struck by the UAE in the backs of the Palestinian people and all Muslims”.
The agreement delivered a key foreign policy victory for US President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election and reflected a changing Middle East, in which shared concerns about Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.
The deal amounts to “treason” and should be reversed, said Hossein Amirabdollahian, an adviser to Iran’s parliament speaker.
“UAE’s new approach for normalising ties w/fake, criminal #Israel doesn’t maintain peace & security but serves ongoing Zionists’ crimes,” he tweeted on Friday.
Iran’s former chief of the powerful Revolutionary Guard, Mohsen Rezaei, said on Twitter the UAE has been making itself “the paradise of Israel” for the last 10 years.
“No Muslim zealous warriors and no Arabs betray Palestine, only nerveless stabs from behind,” he said.
Rezaei accused the UAE of working with Israel’s spy agency Mossad to create “espionage and intelligence networks” in the region.
UAE officials said they hope the newly signed deal will “change the dynamics” towards Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands but stressed it will be a long process.
“I don’t think anything is written in stone,” said UAE official Omar Ghobash. “Even treaties and agreements written into the law don’t necessarily stand the test of time, again we are opening a door, we are hoping that the Israelis will see the benefits to this step and the many other steps that could follow from regional countries.”
In a veiled reference to its main regional rival and Emirati ally Saudi Arabia, Iran’s foreign ministry slammed rulers who harm the people of Palestine and Yemen “from their glass palaces”.
The agreement comes after Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held rare talks with his Emirati counterpart last week, raising hopes for a mending of their ties.
The UAE had downgraded its relations with Iran in January 2016 amid a spike in tensions between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic.
Relations between Tehran and Riyadh deteriorated further last year following a series of mysterious attacks on tankers in sensitive Gulf waters, which Washington blamed on Iran. Tehran denied the charges.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, the region’s two leading powers, back opposing sides in several conflicts, including in Syria and Yemen.
Establishing diplomatic ties between Israel and Washington’s Middle East allies, including the oil-rich Gulf states, has been central to US President Donald Trump’s regional strategy to contain Iran.
Ellie Geranmayeh, analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, argued on Twitter the normalisation is unlikely to be a “game-changer” for Iran.
She noted the Islamic Republic has long worked the assumption that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel have been covertly cooperating against it for years.
The spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaee, tweeted the move meant Israel was “occupying the UAE”.
In an editorial published on Friday, Iran’s state news agency IRNA dismissed the agreement as neither strategic nor historic – simply a manoeuvre by Trump to boost his re-election hopes.
“This measure by Trump’s team is neither a step to solve regional problems and support the UAE, nor does it help Palestinians or Netanyahu,” it said.
Saying many of Iran’s Arab neighbours already have ties with Israel, it noted the agreement will not have much impact “aside from infamy for regional states and domestic use for Trump”.