0715 GMT November 19, 2019
In an interview with ICANA on Tuesday, Zarif said he has investigated a report claiming that Tahnoun bin Zayed – the UAE’s national security adviser and the Emirati crown prince’s younger brother – has paid a secret visit to Iran, adding, “Such a report is not true.”
His denial came after the London-based online news outlet, Middle East Eye (MEE) quoted a senior security source as saying that bin Zayed has been in Tehran on a secret mission aiming to defuse the Persian Gulf crisis.
The UAE has supported the United States’ anti-Iran measures following Washington’s last-year pullout from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
It also threw its support behind the US military buildup in the Persian Gulf which triggered tensions in the region.
However, following several attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region which deteriorated the tensions, the Arab country’s officials decided to take steps to ease tensions and sent a maritime delegation to Tehran in July.
Last month, Abu Dhabi welcomed an initiative by European leaders to ease tensions with Iran and open a diplomatic path.
"With persistence, the E3 [Britain, France and Germany] can open up a new channel of communication and establish greater trust," the UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Anwar Gargash wrote in the Financial Times.
"The UAE, Iran and other states can share the [Persian] Gulf as normal neighbors, if not as the best of friends."