The Iranian and U.A.E. Foreign Ministers Are Trolling Each Other on Twitter

The foreign ministers of Iran and the United Arab Emirates have turned Twitter into a new front in the ongoing Iranian-Saudi diplomatic spat.

Tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia has intensified since the Saudi execution of a leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, on Jan. 2.

But while the execution sparked a vigorous debate online, Twitter pronouncements from politicians have remained focused directly on the execution. Until now.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif kicked things off on Wednesday morning with this oblique message to his 363,000 followers:

Javad Zarif (@JZarif) tweet
Mohammad Javad Zarif/Twitter

He didn't specifically mention Saudi, but few thought he was referring to anyone else. A few hours later he was at it again, this time mentioning the quick release of 10 U.S. sailors held by Iran for entering its territorial waters.

Tweet from @JZarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif/Twitter

Later in the day Zarif's Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – a staunch Saudi ally – hit back. He has 2.58 million followers. 

Tweet from @ABZayed
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan

He didn't reply directly to Zarif's tweet, but his choice of hashtag didn't leave much to the imagination.

It's not clear what sparked this exchange, but on Monday he compared a recent op-ed by Zarif in the New York Times to the writings of a "Scandinavian foreign minister".

Tweet by @ABZayed
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan

With no end to the diplomatic disagreements in sight, this feud could be worth following.

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