This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called the United Arab Emirates’ (U.A.E.) historic deal with Israel to normalize relations a “betrayal” that “won’t last for long.”
The “treachery” was committed against “the Islamic world or Arab nations, regional countries, and Palestine,” Khamenei said in a speech on September 1, according to state media, as a joint, high-level U.S.-Israeli delegation wrapped up a visit to Abu Dhabi following the first direct flight between Israel and the U.A.E.
Israel and the U.A.E. announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations in a U.S.-brokered deal that included an Israeli pledge to suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
The deal makes the U.A.E. the first Gulf Arab state to establish full diplomatic ties, and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic relations, with Israel.
The U.A.E. has touted the normalization deal as a tool to force Israel into halting its contentious plan to annex parts of the West Bank sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
The move was hailed by several Gulf states but slammed by Iran, Turkey, and Palestinian officials.
Speaking on August 31, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that Iran, which has come under intense U.S. pressure, was central to the deal between the U.A.E. and Israel, saying Tehran creates “instability in the Middle East.”
“The Emiratis and Israelis can have the capacity to cooperate in securing the Middle East against this enormous threat,” Pompeo said in an interview.
This weekend, the U.A.E. repealed a law boycotting Israel which had been in place since 1972, and earlier this month the two countries opened direct telephone services for the first time.