Middle East

Zarif meets with UAE prime minister in Dubai

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif, left, meets with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (AP Photo/ WAM )

DUBAI: Iran’s foreign minister held talks Tuesday in the United Arab Emirates in Tehran’s latest effort to mend fences with Gulf states suspicious of its nuclear program and regional ambitions.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, home to a sizable Iranian community, WAM state news agency reported.

The two discussed “bilateral relations ... and ways to enhance peace and stability,” WAM said, adding that Zarif delivered an invitation from President Hassan Rouhani to visit Tehran.

Zarif delivered a similar invitation to the UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, back in December, when he toured several Gulf countries.

At the time, Zarif sought to reassure Iran’s Arab neighbors that a nuclear deal struck with world powers in Geneva in November was in their interest.

Iran agreed to freeze or roll back parts of its controversial nuclear program in exchange for an estimated $7 billion of relief from crippling sanctions in an interim deal aimed at buying time for the negotiation of a comprehensive accord.

The Gulf states have called on Tehran to fully cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog in implementing the deal.

Iran has long denied allegations that it is covertly pursuing a nuclear weapon capability.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 16, 2014, on page 9.




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