8/15, 2:30 PM (Source: TeleTrader)
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Israel, UAE in discussions over Iran, sources claim

Brian Hook (pictured), special representative of the Department of State for Iran, organized discussions between Israel and United Arab Emirates and their representatives are willing to improve ties in diplomacy, defense and intelligence, anonymous officials from the United States administration told the Wall Street Journal. The meetings, which were held in unknown locations and at an undisclosed time, were aimed at joint efforts to stand up to Iran's influence in the Middle East, according to the article published on Thursday.

A source said the first secret event took place in the spring, followed by another "more recently." The newspaper noted there have been similar initiatives to connect Israel with US allies in the region with focus on Iran's disputed nuclear program and its activity in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Bilateral ties with the UAE apparently advanced after February's international gathering about the Middle East, held in Warsaw and attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One former insider highlighted a hurdle, saying the Emirates has its own clandestine contacts with Iran. The federation recently announced it is scaling back its military presence in Yemen. Bahrain is reportedly leading the way in the Persian Gulf in engaging with Israel's government.

Breaking the News / IT