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UAE shuts US-based RAND policy group in latest restriction of political-related activities

The U.S.-based policy think tank RAND Corp. says it has been ordered to close its Abu Dhabi office, the latest such move against Western research groups this year.

The order appears to reflect a tightening of political-related activity in the United Arab Emirates, which has widened crackdowns on perceived dissent by activists and others.

A statement Thursday from RAND spokesman Jeffrey Hiday says the group shut its Abu Dhabi office at the "request" of officials. The office conducted research into areas such as education and environment. He gave no further details.

In March, the UAE shut two pro-democracy groups, the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute and the Germany-based Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

At the time, UAE officials said licensing issues forced the closures. Officials gave no immediate comment on the RAND closure.