Iran’s Arab foes are mending ties amid uncertainty over nuclear talks

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi meets with UAE's top national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Tehran, Iran, December 6, 2021.

As tensions grew, Gulf states found the US standing on the sidelines, either unwilling or unable to come to their rescue, with their own lines of communication with Iran all but severed.
But much has changed since then. The United Arab Emirates is set to restore top level diplomatic relations, saying on Sunday that its ambassador, Saif Mohammed Al Zaabi, would return to Tehran “in [the] coming days.” Kuwait returned its ambassador last week and Saudi Arabia, whose lead the Gulf states followed in downgrading ties with Iran six years ago, is holding direct talks with the Islamic Republic.

“It’s obvious there is a regional direction that is in tandem with Saudi movement,” Mohammed Baharoon, director general of the Dubai Public Policy Research Centre, told CNN.

The decision to return the ambassador “comes within the UAE’s regional orientation towards restoring bridges, strengthening relations, maximizing on what we share and building on it to create an atmosphere of trust,…