An Iranian news agency says the foreign minister has called on the United Arab Emirates not to deport its nationals.

The Iranian media has reported that the UAE has repatriated an unspecified number of Iranians amid tensions between the two countries linked to Syria's civil war. Shiite Iran backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, a member of a Shiite offshoot sect, while the Sunni-majority UAE and Saudi Arabia support the mostly Sunni rebels.

The UAE has not reported any deportations. The UAE has in the past denied renewal of residency visas without giving reasons.

A Friday report by the semi-official Mehr agency said Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi raised the issued in a phone conversation with his Emirati counterpart. It didn't elaborate.

An estimated half-million Iranians live in the Emirates.