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Iran, Not Israel, Now the Unifying Focus for Much of Middle East

  • UAE backed Trump’s maximum pressure strategy against Tehran
  • Iran dismissed pact announced on Thursday as ‘wretched’ deal
Pedestrians pass in front of mural depicting Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic of Iran, in Tehran.

Pedestrians pass in front of mural depicting Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic of Iran, in Tehran.

Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg
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The breakthrough between Israel and the United Arab Emirates reflects a shift in the modern Middle East’s foundational fault-line, as a Persian Gulf power for the first time agrees to make peace with the Jewish state. But it also focused the spotlight on another, perhaps more dangerous, rift over Iran.

Sitting just across the narrow Strait of Hormuz from the Islamic Republic, the UAE has been careful not to let tensions boil over into open conflict as President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy -- which it backed -- isolated and sanctioned Tehran, and then led to the killing of Iran’s most influential general.