1202 GMT August 15, 2022
IRAN DAILY: With the rise of Mohammed bin Zayed to power in the UAE, will we see changes in the country’s policies, either domestically or regionally?
HANIZADEH: The state affairs of the UAE are not handled by a single person but are in the hands of a decision-making body, meaning that grand policies of the country are not primarily determined by one individual. Rather, the country is governed by a council comprising of seven emirates.
Therefore, it is unlikely that we witness fundamental changes in the UAE's approaches, especially since there was a smooth and uneventful transfer of power in the country as Mohammed bin Zayed replaced Khalifa bin Zayed, and the policies of the UAE will continue to be the same in the future.
That said, in his 10-year-long tenure as crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed has gained invaluable experiences, which will now help him along the way. For one thing, he has come to the conclusion that keeping up with the aggressive stance on the Axis of Resistance and Iran will not work in the region. It is expected that this aggressive stance will be adjusted to a large measure. As evidence for that, one may refer to the recent announcement made by the UAE about its desire to establish relations with Syria, and the recent visit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to this country, which show that the aggressive policies of the UAE will change.
Now that the US and Israeli policies in the region are fully revealed, the UAE will follow a much less destructive role. It’s expected that Mohammed bin Zayed will try fence-sitting, i.e., establishing relations with Israel while improving relations and cooperation with Iran, because Iran is the largest neighbor of the GCC member states and he knows that he needs to have a balanced relationship with Tehran. Therefore, Bin Zayed will be more inclined toward Iran.
Speaking about his inclination toward strengthening cooperation with Iran, will that lead to improving economic relations between the two countries, for example, making it possible for the UAE to invest in Iran?
One of the UAE's approaches is to invest in stable, calm countries. Since Iran is in such a situation, the economic aspect of the bilateral relations will likely be more significant to the UAE. In addition to maintaining political relations, therefore, it will try to have constructive trade and commerce with Iran in the future, and this will be to the benefit of all the countries of the Persian Gulf region and Iran. That’s why I think the level of economic relations between Iran and the UAE will reach a reliable level.
Can this new situation accelerate the end of the war and the establishment of peace in Yemen?
The war in Yemen is practically over and a cease-fire is in place now, but this cease-fire must be sustained. The UAE has played a destructive role in Yemen in the past and, after a while, it ran into dispute with Saudi Arabia. The disagreement between Mohammed bin Zayed and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is now at its peak, and the UAE has concluded that the continuation of the war is to its detriment and that of other countries in the region, especially since Yemen’s Ansarullah has ballistic missiles that can hit all parts of the UAE. Therefore, Mohammed bin Zayed’s approach will aim to pave the way for further stability and calm in the UAE and the region.