According to a Thursday report, the United States, United Arab Emirates, and Israel have joined together in secret talks over rising tensions in Iran.
“The talks aim to broaden cooperation for military and intelligence sharing between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, two cautiously allied Middle Eastern nations, a foreign official with knowledge of the diplomacy said on Thursday,” according to The New York Times.
Israel and the UAE, a Muslim-majority nation, have a low-profile alliance that has been forged over regional security concerns as Iran becomes more boisterous, threatening the established order in the Middle East and West Asia. The pair of countries have reportedly included the United States in the talks in order to demonstrate their commitment to President Donald J. Trump’s hardline approach to quelling Iran, a fact which The New York Times begrudgingly admitted.
“They want to signal to the Trump administration and members of Congress — especially Republicans — that they aren’t walking away from the administration’s policies and the maximum pressure campaign against Iran,” Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, reportedly told the paper.
Details of the discussions are few and far between, and the person who confirmed them would only speak on the condition of anonymity.
“The foreign official confirmed the talks were being coordinated by Brian H. Hook, the senior State Department envoy on Iran issues,” according to The Times. “Neither the State Department nor the Israeli Embassy in Washington responded to requests for comment, and Emirati officials refused to discuss the issue.”
In May of 2018, President Trump pulled the United States out of a disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, which involved former president Barack Obama handing $1.7 billion in cash to the hostile foreign nation. Since then, the United States has placed sanctions on the export of Iranian oil, which has crippled the nation’s economy.
Iran has become restless, and there have been recent flare ups in the Strait of Hormuz, through which a large percentage of the world’s oil is shipped.
Iran has specifically warned Israel against joining a military coalition in the Strait, as we reported.
“Any Israeli involvement in any maritime coalition in the Gulf is a ‘clear threat ‘to Iran’s national security and the Islamic Republic has a right to confront the threat, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Friday, according to a statement on the Foreign Ministry website,” Jerusalem Post said.
Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz reportedly told colleagues in a closed-door meeting that the nation was helping the United States with a Naval mission in the Strait, providing intelligence and other unspecified aid.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to counter this threat and defend its territory within the framework of the country’s deterrence and defensive policy, and will have no hesitation in translating it into action as part of its defensive policies,” Mousavi reportedly said.
Israel declined to comment on its role in the region.
The Strait of Hormuz is a strategic and geographically important area, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil supply travels. Four oil tankers were allegedly sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in May, sparking renewed tensions between the United States and Iran.