Iran and Qatar agreed to expand cooperation in the energy and investment sectors amid the coronavirus spread in the region.
The agreement was reached in a video-conference meeting on Thursday between Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian and Qatari Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, IRNA reported.
Following the postponement of a meeting of the Iran-Qatar Joint Economic Cooperation Committee, which was scheduled to be held in the central Iranian city of Isfahan in early April, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the two sides, in their online meeting, discussed issues of common interests in an effort to accelerate the expansion of bilateral relations.
Addressing the Qatari minister, Ardakanian said Iran had prepared all the documents and drafts required by the joint committee to approve the plan for increasing cooperation between the two countries in the aforementioned sectors.
He said Iran would share the drafts and documents with the Qatari side to secure the final approval prior to the holding of the joint committee meeting.
The two sides agreed to hold the meeting at the earliest opportunity after the coronavirus crisis ended and conditions returned to normal.
Ardakanian and Al Kuwari said that video-conference sessions will continue in the meantime to allow the two sides to finalize remaining details about joint energy and investment projects.
In addition, the Iranian minister expressed appreciation for Qatar’s medical assistance (two cargoes of medical equipment and medicine) for Iran amid the coronavirus spread in the country, expressing Iran’s willingness to share its experiences in the fight against the virus with the Arab state.
Ardakanian said that despite the problems it has created for the world, the virus has led to greater solidarity and closeness between friendly and neighboring countries.
The Qatari minister also expressed his country’s readiness to cooperate with Iran in the fight against coronavirus, saying this would help the two states develop their relations.
Al Kuwari added the spread of the COVID-19 in the Middle East had helped create new opportunities in relations between Iran and Qatar.
Iran and Qatar have seen a major boom in their relations in the recent past, especially since several Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region decided to impose an all-out economic blockade on Qatar in June 2017 because of a series of political disputes with Doha.
Qatar has been the only country in the region that has allowed its airlines to keep flying to Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic. That has enabled Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East by the disease, to receive supplies of medicine and medical equipment needed to fight the pandemic.
During their video call, Ardakanian thanked Qatar Airways for transferring medical aid from other countries and international organizations to Iran.