UAE minister says UAE-Israel agreement not directed at Iran

Reuters – The United Arab Emirates’ agreement to normalise ties with Israel was a “sovereign decision” that was not directed at Iran, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Monday.

The UAE on Sunday said it had summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Abu Dhabi and given him a “strongly worded memo” in response to a speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the foreign ministry described as “unacceptable”.

Speaking on Saturday, Rouhani said the UAE had made a “huge mistake” in reaching a agreement to normalise ties with Israel and called it a betrayal by the Gulf state.

The U.S.-sponsored deal has been seen as firming up opposition to regional power Iran, which Gulf states, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.

“The UAE-Israeli peace treaty is a sovereign decision not directed at Iran. We say this and repeat it. We do not accept interference in our decisions,” Gargash said on Twitter.

The secretary general of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council on Sunday condemned “threats” by Rouhani and other Iranian officials towards the UAE over the accord.

Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Toby Chopra