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Arabic press review: UAE and Iran reportedly engaged in secret talks

The UAE moves to assure Iran that it had not been involved in military operations against its neighbour in recent months
Iranian students hold a Palestinian flag and banners during a protest against a US-brokered deal between Israel and the UAE to normalise relations, in front of the UAE embassy in Tehran (AFP)

UAE in secret talks with Iran

The UAE has reportedly conducted secret communications with Tehran over the past week, in an attempt by Abu Dhabi to calm the Iranians and deny involvement in any military operations inside Iran, according to the London-based Al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper.

Sources told the newspaper that talks took place in Cairo between Abu Dhabi and Tehran to coincide with Iran's commemoration of the assassination of military commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US raid on 3 January 2020.

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The sources said that the UAE had assured Iran that it had not participated in any way in the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November.

"There are big concerns in Dubai about any Iranian retaliatory strikes, even if they were minor," said the sources.

They added that the UAE was seeking to stabilise its position in anticipation of moves by outgoing US President Donald Trump to stoke international turmoil before his successor Joe Biden formally assumes the presidency on 20 January.

"There was an Iranian agreement to keep the region out of major crises that are currently beyond control, in order to wait for Trump's departure to explore the new US leadership's position vis-a-vis Tehran," they said.

Refugees in Jordan surpass 750,000

The total number of refugees registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jordan has reached 752,000, according to statistics published by Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad.

Syrians constitute the vast majority, about 88.1 percent of them, 662,000, followed by Iraqis, 67,000 or 8.9 percent, with the rest from Yemen, Sudan and other nationalities.

Data show that 28.5 percent of refugees in Jordan have "special needs", while some 75,400, or 10 percent, suffer from serious health problems.

More than 18,000 refugee children are being cared for by one parent.

Statistics show that about 2,515 refugee children in Jordan are separated from their families. The term "unaccompanied children" is used to refer to refugee children who have entered Jordan without a parent or guardian.

Iraqi family tries to sell child

Iraqi security authorities arrested on Saturday a father and mother as they reportedly tried to sell their child in the capital Baghdad, according to news outlet Arabi21.

The Iraqi interior ministry said in a statement that it had arrested a man and his wife on charges of trafficking their five-year-old child.

The statement said that a team from the intelligence agency was dispatched after receiving information about a human trafficking operation.

"After intensified intelligence efforts, the suspects were arrested as they were selling their five-year-old child for 10 million Iraqi dinars (US$7,000) in the Karrada region of the Iraqi capital,” the ministry said.

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

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