GCC chief condemns Iran's threats to UAE

UAE summons Iran's charge d'affaires in Abu Dhabi in response to Rouhani’s speech that foreign ministry described as "unacceptable."

DUBAI - The secretary general of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council on Sunday condemned "threats" by Iran's president and other Iranian officials towards the United Arab Emirates over its agreement with Israel to normalise relations, the GCC said in a statement.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday the UAE has made a "huge mistake" in reaching the deal with Israel, condemning what he called a betrayal by the Gulf state.

The UAE has summoned Iran's charge d'affaires in Abu Dhabi in response to Rouhani’s speech that the foreign ministry described as "unacceptable", state news agency WAM said on Sunday.

Rouhani said in a speech on Saturday the UAE had made a "huge mistake" in reaching an agreement to normalise ties with Israel and called it a betrayal by the Gulf state.

"They (the UAE) better be mindful. They have committed a huge mistake, a treacherous act," he said of the agreement announced on Thursday.

The UAE foreign ministry said the speech was "unacceptable, inflammatory, and carrying serious repercussions for the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf region", the statement carried by WAM said.

The charge d'affaires has been given a "strongly worded memo", WAM said.

There was no response yet from Tehran.

The UAE statement said the ministry considers Rouhani's speech interference in UAE internal affairs and an assault on its sovereignty.

The foreign ministry reminded Iran of its duty to protect the UAE diplomatic mission in Tehran.

To protest the UAE-Israel agreement, a small group of Iranians gathered in front of the UAE embassy in Tehran late on Saturday, Iranian media reported.

The US-sponsored deal has been seen as firming up opposition to regional power Iran, which Gulf states, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.

The UAE, which is home to thousands of Iranians, says it pursues a de-escalatory policy towards its neighbour Iran.