News ID: 199278
Published: 0311 GMT August 24, 2017

Qatar resumes full diplomatic relations with Iran

Qatar resumes full diplomatic relations with Iran

Qatar’s ambassador to return to Iran

Qatar restored full diplomatic relations with Iran and promised to send its ambassador back to Tehran soon.

“The state of Qatar expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields,” a short Foreign Ministry statement issued early on Thursday, said, AP reported.

The statement said that Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke by phone to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.

Qatar pulled its ambassador from Tehran in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shia cleric sparked attacks by radical demonstrators on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran, a move to show solidarity with the kingdom.

In announcing its decision, Qatar made no mention of the diplomatic crisis roiling Persian Gulf Arab nations since June, when Doha found its land, sea and air routes cut off by four Arab states.

Iran, which welcomed Doha's decision, has sent food to Qatar and allowed its airplanes to increasingly use the Islamic Republic's airspace.

“We welcome the Qatari government measure to return the ambassador,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said, according to IRNA.

Despite recalling its ambassador in 2016, Qatar maintained its valuable commercial ties to Iran. Qatar and Iran share a massive offshore natural gas field, called the South Pars Field by Tehran and the North Field by Doha.

The gas field’s vast reserves made Qataris have the highest per capita income in the world, and it has funded the nation’s Al Jazeera satellite news network and secured hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

 

Iran-Saudi ties

 

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia may be easing, as ISNA quoted Foreign Minister Zarif as saying visas for both Iranian and Saudi diplomats to visit their respective embassies and consulates had been issued.

Zarif said the final steps to allow the visits would likely be taken after the annual Hajj pilgrimage at the end of the month.

There was no immediate reaction from the Arab nations boycotting Qatar on its Iran decision.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Thursday that the US remains "very deeply concerned with the status of the dispute" between Qatar and the Arab quartet.

"It's gone on for far too long. It really has," Nauert added. She declined to comment on the restoration of Doha-Tehran ties.

The diplomatic crisis began on June 5, when Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar over allegations it was funding extremists and being too close to Iran. Qatar long has denied funding extremists.

The boycotting countries later issued a list of 13 demands to Qatar, including that Doha shut its diplomatic posts in Iran. Qatar ignored the demands and let a deadline to comply pass, creating an apparent stalemate in the crisis.

In recent days, however, Saudi Arabia announced it would allow Qataris to make the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which is required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life. Saudi state media said that came in part due to an intercession by Qatari royal family member Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, who met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and later a vacationing King Salman in Morocco.

 

 
 
   
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