Qatar Restores Iran Ties

Posted August 27, 2017

Qatar will reinstate its diplomatic relationship with Iran, its foreign ministry announced Thursday.

Qatar said on Wednesday it was returning its ambassador to Tehran, almost 20 months after it downgraded relations with Iran in a show of solidarity with Saudi Arabia.

Dr Gargash said the reference to the UAE's trade relations with Iran to "justify the return of the Qatari ambassador disregards Iran's main interest in the Gulf which lies in Qatar's gas fields". This announcement came after Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani held talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif via telephone.

Qatar restored full diplomatic relations with Iran early Thursday and promised to send its ambassador back to Tehran - a move counter to the demands of Arab nations trying to isolate Doha as part of a regional dispute.

Qatar pulled its ambassador to Iran in early 2016 in a show of solidarity after attacks on two Saudi Arabian diplomatic posts in Iran following the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. However, the snub did not result in Qatar shunning off Iran; it instead apparently resulted in the opposite, pushing the two countries closer together. Attempts by Kuwait, the US and others have failed to make headway.

However, Qatar's relationship with Tehran has been warmer than the more aggressive stance adopted by other Saudi allies such as the UAE and Bahrain.

Qatar and Iran share a massive offshore natural gas field that requires communication between the countries.

Analysts believe the unprecedented political crisis in the Persian Gulf has pushed Qatar closer to Tehran. The coalition of Arab countries have imposed travel restrictions and economic sanctions on Qatar since June.

Riyadh accuses Iran of interfering in the Arab world and alleges that it aspires to dominate the region.

Qatar's official television station has counted almost 1,100 articles and 600 cartoons in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Bahrain's media, as well as 3,500 tweets by officials and journalists from those countries.

"The management of the crisis caused the burning of bridges, the squandering of sovereignty and the deepening of the Qatari crisis and undermined what remained of the mediator's chances", he wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday.

In a statement, Senegal's foreign minister said he hoped the act "encourages efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis between Qatar and neighboring countries".

The Saudi-led bloc later on released a list of demands, including reducing ties with Iran, that Qatar should fulfil prior to any normalization of relations.

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