In this file photo taken on Oct 6, 2021, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart following their meeting in Moscow. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / POOL / AFP)
DUBAI - Iran's top diplomat is expected to visit the United Arab Emirates on Monday, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said, welcoming the appointment of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan as the Gulf state's president last week.
"Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is planning to travel to the UAE today," Saeed Khatibzadeh told a televised weekly news conference.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian's visit is the highest level trip by an Iranian official to the UAE since Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement launched a deadly strike on the United Arab Emirates in January
Iranian state media said Amir-Abdollahian had left Tehran to pay respects to the Gulf country's late President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed who died on Friday.
Amir-Abdollahian's visit is the highest level trip by an Iranian official to the Gulf country since Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement launched a deadly strike on the United Arab Emirates in January.
In 2019, the UAE started engaging with Iran following attacks on tankers off Gulf waters and on Saudi energy infrastructure.
Iran's deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani visited the UAE in November, when he said the two countries had agreed to open a new chapter in bilateral relations.
United Arab Emirates strongman Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who was formally elected president on Saturday, led a realignment of the Middle East that created a new anti-Iran axis with Israel and fought a rising tide of political Islam in the region.