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Iran's Kayhan says UAE a 'legitimate target' after Israel deal

Hardline newspaper describes agreement to normalise relations as a 'great betrayal of the Palestinian people'
President Hassan Rouhani said the UAE had "committed a huge mistake, a treacherous act" (AFP)

The Iranian hardline newspaper Kayhan, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said "the UAE has turned itself into a legitimate target for the resistance" following its deal with Israel, according to its website.

Under the agreement, Israel said it had agreed to suspend the annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank. However, hours later Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he remained "committed to annexing parts of the West Bank".

In a front-page comment, Kayhan said: "The UAE's great betrayal of the Palestinian people... will turn this small, rich country which is heavily dependent on security into a 'legitimate and easy target' for the resistance."

Iran often refers to militant forces and regional countries opposed to Israel and the United States as a "resistance" front.

Furious speech

In a televised speech also on Saturday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the UAE had made a "huge mistake" in reaching a deal towards normalising ties with Israel, and he furiously condemned what he called a betrayal by the Gulf state.

Rouhani warned the UAE against allowing Israel a "foothold in the region".

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"They [the UAE] better be mindful. They have committed a huge mistake, a treacherous act. We hope they will realise this and abandon this wrong path," said the president.

Rouhani said the deal seemed aimed at ensuring that US President Donald Trump, who helped broker the deal, wins another term in the presidential election in November and referred to the fact that it was announced in Washington.

"Why then did it happen now? If it weren't a wrong deal, why was it then announced in a third country, in America? So a gentleman in Washington wins votes, you betray your country, your people, Muslims and the Arab world?" Rouhani said.

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a statement that the UAE-Israel deal would "accelerate the process of the destruction of the child-killing Zionist regime [Israel]".