April 24, 2023 | Flash Brief

Jordan Draws Closer to Iran While Displaying Hostility to Israel

April 24, 2023 | Flash Brief

Jordan Draws Closer to Iran While Displaying Hostility to Israel

Latest Developments

Officials from Iran and Jordan are preparing to meet to improve relations and cooperation between the two countries. The agreement to meet “as soon as possible” came during a phone conversation on April 21 between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi. The announcement follows a meeting between Amir-Abdollahian and Jordanian King Abdullah II on the sidelines of the second Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership held in Amman, Jordan, in December.

In recent weeks, Tehran has sought to mend relationships with some of its regional rivals while continuing to threaten Israel and stoke regional unrest, especially with its support of Palestinian militant organizations and the Houthi Rebels in Yemen. On March 23, Amir-Abdollahian and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud announced they would meet to discuss reopening their respective embassies, which were shut in 2016.  

Expert Analysis

“The warming of ties between Jordan and the Islamic Republic of Iran comes amidst a flurry of reports suggesting an Iranian diplomatic offensive among traditional U.S. allies. Jordan has every reason to try to deconflict with Iran, given the sheer amount of mayhem the clerical regime has caused inside Jordan — from Shia militias to Captagon. But Jordan must tread carefully if it wishes to remain in good standing with Washington and Jerusalem. The U.S.-led regional order hangs in the balance.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Jordan has long been concerned about Iranian attempts to destabilize the kingdom, so it’s unsurprising that Amman would quickly follow Riyadh in seeking a détente. The problem, of course, is that the closer you get to the snake, the more likely it is to bite you.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Jordan’s Escalating Rhetoric

The growing rapport between Tehran and various Arab countries marks a departure from the trend of increasing Arab-Israeli normalization fostered by the 2020 Abraham Accords. Despite being one of the first Arab countries to establish relations with Israel nearly 30 years ago, Jordan has recently displayed a more hostile face. Its official rhetoric about Israel has grown increasingly negative, if not vitriolic, in both public forums and Jordan’s government-sponsored media.

Concerns of Destabilization

King Abdullah raised concerns during a conversation with former U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster in May 2022 that Iranian forces in Syria could soon destabilize his country. Jordan also faces threats from Iran-backed militias in both Iraq and Syria, the latter of which traffic Captagon, an amphetamine-like drug, on behalf of the Syrian regime. There are also Iranian assets reportedly operating in the Red Sea, Amman’s outlet to international waters.  Jordan is the third largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, having received around $2.6 billion in 2020.

Jordan’s Threat to the Middle Eastern Order,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz

Jordan’s King Asks for U.S. Help Combating Iran-Backed Militias,” FDD Flash Brief

Jordan’s King Incites Anti-Israel Sentiment,” FDD Flash Brief

Neither Here Nor There,” by Jonathan Schanzer


Arab Politics Iran Iran Global Threat Network Israel Jordan