Iran's military considers the UAE-Israel deal to establish diplomatic ties "unfortunate," and the Iranian military's calculations in relation to Abu Dhabi will shift, given the new circumstances, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has said.
"Certainly, Iran's approach to the UAE will change fundamentally and the Armed Forces will look at this country with different calculations. And if something happens in the Persian Gulf region and our national security is damaged, however small, we will hold the UAE responsible and will not tolerate it," Bagheri warned, his remarks cited by Tasnim.
Bagheri stressed that "it is not too late for the UAE to reconsider its decision and to avoid pursuing a path which is detrimental to the security of the region and to itself."
The UAE's military consists of approximately 100,000 personnel, and the country regularly takes part in regional wars, including the Gulf War in 1990-1991, the War in Afghanistan (starting in 2007), and the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, starting in 2015. The UAE formally announced a partial withdrawal of its forces from the latter conflict in 2019, and a shift in focus from fighting the Shia Houthi millitia to Daesh (ISIS)* and al-Qaeda* terrorists operating in Yemen). The Al Dhafra Air Base outside Abu Dhabi is also known to host US Air Force combat, intelligence-gathering and tanker aircraft for Washington's anti-Daesh operations in the region.
Last year, amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf in the wake of a string of tanker sabotage attacks, ship seizures and the destruction of a US spy drone by Iranian air defences, Iran proposed the creation of a coalition of Gulf nations, including the UAE, to help ensure the security of the Persian Gulf. In July 2019, coast guard commanders from the two countries met in Tehran to work to improve cooperation in the Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian officials have made no secret of their antipathy toward the UAE-Israeli diplomatic deal on normalisation of relations known as the 'Abraham Accord' announced last week by US President Donald Trump. On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the agreement a "huge mistake" and a betrayal of the Arab World and the Palestinians. Also Saturday, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps warned that the deal would have "dangerous" consequences for both parties if implemented.
A formal signing ceremony for the agreement is expected to take place in the coming weeks, and to be held in Washington. The UAE will be the first Arab nation in the Persian Gulf region to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, and the third Arab nation overall to do so after Egypt and Jordan, which normalised relations with Tel Aviv in 1979 and 1994, respectively.
Most Arab countries' relations with Tel Aviv remain poor, and this state of affairs has reigned since the establishment of Israel in 1948.
* Terrorist groups outlawed in Russia and many other countries.