Last updated: 29 February, 2012

UAE Foreign Minister makes surprise visit to Iran

The UAE’s foreign minister made an unannounced visit to Iran on Wednesday for talks with his counterpart, state news agency IRNA reported.

The visit comes as Washington presses the United Arab Emirates to fully enforce sanctions against Tehran.

“We hope this visit will allow us to strengthen our relations,” Iran’s Ali Akbar Salehi said of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan’s visit.

For his part, Sheikh Abdullah said “we will make very effort to develop our relations and to overcome all obstacles.”

An Iranian foreign ministry statement said the two officials had discussed “regional matters and the need to reinforce economic and commercial relations,” but did not provide details.

Washington has been pressing the UAE to fully apply sanctions imposed on Tehran in a bid to force it to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

Most of the country’s banks have already stopped transactions with Iran since sanctions were imposed.

Goods proceeding from the UAE amount to some $20 billion a year, or one-third of Iran’s imports.