THE STORIES BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Abu Dhabi

London

New York

Tuesday 20th March 2018

Iran and Qatar Strengthen Ties, as Regional Tensions Mounts

Politics

7Dnews London

Sun, 16 Jun 2019 08:04 GMT

As tensions grow in the Gulf region, after explosions on two oil tankers that appear to bear Tehran’s fingerprints, Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Emir of Qatar Tamim expressed their desire to strengthen their relationship during a meeting in Tajikistan.

Attacks on two oil tankers on Thursday June 14th, in the Gulf of Oman, which the United States blamed on Iran, have raised fears of a broader confrontation in the region.

US and UK officials and state bodies have marked the recent attacks on the Gulf region as orchestrated by Iran in response to the Gulf’s unified stance against its untamed behaviour in the Middle East.

As tensions mount, relations between the Doha and Tehran regimes converge, reflecting a consensus in the politics of the two countries. Both have been accused repeatedly by the international community of supporting and financing terrorism.

Iranian and Qatari heads of state met on Saturday, June 15th, on the side-lines of the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), currently in session in Dushanbe, Capital of Tajikistan. During the meeting, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani expressed keenness on keeping the Qatari-Iranian relations in steady development despite the problems in the region, pointing out that Qatar is a neighbour, and a brotherly country, according to the Qatar Tribune newspaper.

Rouhani claimed Iran's desire for dialogue and the elimination of all misunderstanding in the region.

For his part, Emir Tameem bin Hamad Al-Thani also claimed that Qatar's position is that any disagreement among neighbours should be resolved through dialogue, ignoring Iran’s acts to destabilise the region.

But, the repeated claims by Iran of readiness to negotiate over disputes with the US was not proved by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who meet Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tehran on Thursday. He said that the US president is not “worthy of any message exchange”, according to Iran’s state-run Fars news agency.

Over the past two years, since the Arab quartet (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain) imposed a blockade on Qatar to stop its support for terrorism, relations between Doha and Tehran have been closer.

In June 2017, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt cut its diplomatic relations with Qatar, boycotting it as it continued to support terrorism. Before that, the four countries urged Qatar to stop funding terrorism and terrorist movements and to stop interfering with the internal affairs of countries in the region.

However, the Qatari regime has not stopped funding terrorist movements, along with causing unrest and troubles throughout the region. The four countries have also imposed measures boycotting the Qatari government.

On many occasions, the Qatari regime has insisted on showing its loyalty to the Iran regime. Most recently when Qatar's foreign minister announced on Sunday, June 2nd, that Doha rejected the outcome of the recent Mecca talks on Iran.

"Qatar has reservations on the Arab and Gulf summits because some of their terms are contrary to Doha's foreign policy," Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told the Al-Araby broadcaster.

The Qatari stance comes as Doha has depended on Tehran to ease its economic isolation, since the blockade in 2017.

Doha turned a blind eye towards Iran’s heavy aggression against Gulf facilities over the past month. Iran is accused of being behind attacks against the Saudi pipelines of Saudi Arabia's national oil company, Saudi Aramco, of sabotaging four oil tankers off the UAE’s territorial coast, and of the latest attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

The US military released a video late on Thursday that it said showed Iran's Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from the side of a Japanese-owned oil tanker, as Washington blamed Iran for the attacks which have rattled global oil markets.

Through all these recent incidents, Qatar claims support for dialogue to solve the problems in the region and but does not blame Iran for anything.


Middle East