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UAE Rejects Iranian Threats After Historic Israel Deal

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The UAE on Sunday summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Abu Dhabi to protest “threats” by the Islamic republic’s president over the decision to normalize ties with Israel, state media reported.

The foreign ministry “summoned the Iranian charge d’affaires (and) handed him a strong note of protest against the threats contained in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech regarding the UAE’s sovereign decisions,” the official WAM news agency reported.

That came a day after Rouhani said the UAE’s decision to normalize ties was a “big mistake” and warned “against opening the path of Israel to the region”.

Without expanding on what that would mean, he said it “would be another story and they will be dealt with in another way,” Iran’s Mehr news agency reported.

UAE said on Sunday that such rhetoric “was unacceptable and inflammatory and had serious implications for security and stability in the Gulf region.”

The United Arab Emirates had already downgraded its relations with Tehran in January 2016 amid fierce rivalry between close Emirati ally Saudi Arabia and the Islamic republic.

The decision to normalize ties with the Jewish state sparked a wave of criticism in Iran. An ultraconservative newspaper said on Saturday that the move made the UAE a “legitimate target” for pro-Tehran forces.

The Kayhan daily echoed Palestinians and supporters across the region, calling the agreement a “betrayal” of the Palestinian cause.

Iran’s government has also strongly condemned the agreement, calling it “strategic stupidity” and saying it would “strengthen the resistance axis in the region”.

The Israel-UAE deal, announced by US President Donald Trump on Thursday, is only the third such accord Israel has struck with an Arab country. But it raises the prospect of similar deals with other pro-Western Gulf states.

Trump said leaders from the two countries would sign the agreement at the White House in around three weeks.

Under the deal, Israel pledged to suspend its planned annexation of West Bank territories, a concession welcomed by European and some pro-Western Arab governments as a boost for hopes of peace. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed Israel was not abandoning its plans to one day annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements across the occupied West Bank.

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