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New Iran Spokesman Says Normalization Of UAE's Ties With Israel Was 'Big Mistake'

Iran --Iranian Foreign Minister new spokesman, Saeed Khatibazadeh, appointed on Sunday, August 16, 2020.

The new spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry has characterized the normalization of the United Arab Emirates' ties with Israel as "a scar on the face of the Muslim world."

Saeed Khatibzadeh, who was speaking on Monday, August 24 about United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the region said that "the UAE has made a big mistake and we hope it will correct its behavior."

He added, “Israel cannot protect its own security and is facing many problems in the occupied territories," and that “the Islamic Republic of Iran is serious about its national interests and security and the UAE will be held accountable for even the slightest threats against Iran."

Iran attaches high priority to its relations with its neighbors, he said, and the country will oppose any factor that would adversely affect the relations with neighboring nations by creating insecurity and instability.

Speaking about the possibility of more countries normalizing their relations with Israel, Khatibzadeh said that "Israel will do anything for legitimacy. However, miscalculations by countries normalizing their ties with Israel will have consequences,” with Khatibzadeh declining to comment on what those consequences may be.

Khatibzadeh also spoke about recent incidents involving the seizure of Iranian fishing boats by the UAE forces."We sent our message immediately after the incident and summoned UAE's charge' d'affaires in Tehran and protested about the development,” he said, with the UAE later acknowledging its responsibility and officially apologizing to Iran.

He added that the UAE is going to compensate for the damages made to the Iranian fishing boat, and Iran will follow the case through its completion.

Meanwhile, answering a question about Iran's relations with Venezuela, Khatibzadeh said that Iran “[knows] how to circumvent US sanctions and our transactions with Venezuela are based on Iran's national interests.”

As for Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro's interest in purchasing missiles from Iran, "The Venezuelan President has said this in response to a laughable claim by another country's officials, however, we have not received any request in this connection,” Khatibzadeh said.

Referring to the US officials' statements about confiscating Iran's gasoline shipments for Venezuela, Khatibzadeh called the ships’ seizure an act of piracy, regardless of who owned the ships. "Iran was not the owner of the ships or what they carried,” Khatibzadeh said. “Nor were the ships sailing under the Iranian flag. The Americans lied to themselves once again, but everybody knows what they said was not true."

Meanwhile, he strongly criticized what he called "interventionist remarks" by the US Department of State's spokeswoman Morgan Ortega, but did not specify which comments he was referring to. However, he opined that his US counterpart should focus on the problems her country is facing all over the world. He further called Ortega's remarks "annoying" and said her statements "should not be taken seriously."

In another part of the news conference, Khatibzadeh was asked about the IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi's visit to Iran. He said Grossi will be Iranian Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi's guest, and will also meet with the Iranian President and Foreign Minister during the visit.

Asked about his expectations for Grossi's trip, Khatibzadeh said the visit is meant to strengthen cooperation between Iran and the IAEA, and that he was sure the visit will solve recent problems with the agency.

The IAEA board of governor has been calling for its inspectors to gain access to two Iranian nuclear sites that they have not yet been allowed to inspect.