Shortly after Syrian President Bashar al-Asaad paid a visit to Tehran, Qatar’s emir is on his way to the Iranian capital. His visit and talks with Iranian officials is of great importance both in terms of bilateral ties and the affect it might have on regional and international developments.
President Raeisi recently traveled to Qatar, which helped boost bilateral ties significantly, especially in the economic domain, as 14 cooperation deals were signed. Now, the visit of Qatar’s emir will guarantee the continuation of cooperation and further bolster cooperation in the economic, political and security fields.
Iran has good relations with Qatar and Oman, and such amicable relations are an example of neighborliness that can be extended to other Persian Gulf Arab states such as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The same pattern can be applied to Saudi Arabia and even Bahrain, when and if ongoing Iran-Saudi talks bear fruit. Under the previous administration, Iran presented the Hormuz Peace Initiative to the Persian Gulf states in order to reduce regional tensions, but for some reasons it received a cold shoulder.
Iran and Qatar can lay the groundwork for regional cooperation or regional treaties to eliminate justifications for fanning Iranophobia, selling arms by the West to regional countries, and the illegitimate presence of extra-regional powers in the Persian Gulf. It requires collective efforts to make these ideas come true. Iran has had good relations and cooperation with Qatar and Oman in recent years, and now the visit of Qatar’s emir can increase such cooperation and efforts to stabilize the region via innovative initiatives.
Qatar has cordial relations with the United States, but this has not stopped Doha from establishing good ties with Tehran. Oman also has friendly ties with the United States and Britain and is also a friend of Iran. In my opinion, Iran’s ties with Qatar and Oman is a good model for making a regional pact between Iran, Iraq and the six members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council. Such a pact could help reduce tensions, set more common interests between regional countries, and help establish peace and security.
Naturally, when countries have more common interests, they will be more observant of neighborly considerations in dealing with each other, and therefore they will have more economic and political cooperation. I think Qatar can help form such a regional pact.
Qatar hosts the largest US military base in the region. Doha’s good ties with both Tehran and Washington could make the Arab nation an active go-between to ease tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Moreover, Qatar is keen to help break the impasse in Iran’s nuclear talks. Qatar would take the credit if it helps resume the negotiations in Vienna. Qatar could play a partial role in the JCPOA talks and a possible agreement that would require guarantees for implementation, as Oman did before. Part of the Qatari emir’s talks in Iran would apparently revolve around the JCPOA and his possible assistance to achieve a deal, because such an agreement would help resolve many of the misunderstandings and problems that exist in Iran's relations with the regional countries.
Overall, the Qatari emir’s visit to Iran is of great importance for both countries and the region in various ways.