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January 19, 2021 10:16 am

Qatar Calls on Gulf States to Launch Discussions With Iran

avatar by i24 News

Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani is seen during talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents, in Doha, Qatar, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem al Omari.

i24 News – Qatar has called for Gulf Arab countries to hold talks with Iran, the country’s foreign minister said in an interview aired Tuesday, after Doha reconciled with its neighbors following a rift.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who has previously called for dialogue with Iran, told Bloomberg TV he was “hopeful that this would happen and we still believe this should happen.”

“This is also a desire that’s shared by other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries,” he said.

It comes weeks after GCC hawks Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE reestablished ties with Qatar after breaking them off in June 2017 partly over allegations that Qatar was too close to Iran. Doha denied the accusations

Qatar and Iran share one of the world’s largest gas fields and Doha maintains cordial relations with Tehran.

Doha is a close ally of Washington and has previously mediated between the US and Iran suggesting that Sheikh Mohammed’s intervention could be timed as a signal to the incoming administration of US President-elect Joe Biden. Biden is due to take office on Wednesday.

The current Republican incumbent, US President Donald Trump, has pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran and pulled the United States out of a multilateral nuclear deal with it in 2018.

Iran’s arch-rival Saudi Arabia, the dominant Gulf Arab power, has not publicly indicated any willingness to engage with Iran.

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