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Iran's foreign minister heads to UAE to pay respects to late leader, meet new one

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is seen during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 7, 2021. (By Reuters)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has departed the country for the United Arab Emirates to pay tribute to the Persian Gulf Arab country's late ruler.

Amir-Abdollahian left Tehran for Abu Dhabi on Monday to pay respects to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who died on Friday, according to Iranian media outlets.

"Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is planning to travel to the UAE today," Saeed Khatibzadeh, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a weekly news conference.

On Friday, Amir-Abdollahian expressed condolences over the death of Khalifa bin Zayed in a message to his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Speaking at the presser, Khatibzadeh also welcomed the appointment of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the Arab state's president last week.

Last August, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi said that the Islamic Republic is determined and open to the expansion of relations with the UAE, stressing that Tehran sees no boundaries to the promotion of such ties, particularly trade and economic ones.

In recent months, Iran and the UAE have intensified efforts to rebuild relations affected by the years-long war in Yemen and other regional issues.

A major re-exporting hub in the Persian Gulf, the UAE has been a major supplier of goods and machinery to Iran since 2018 when Tehran came under a series of unilateral economic sanctions by the United States.

UAE’s value of exports to Iran amounts to over $1.5 billion per month, according to figures by the Iranian customs office.

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