Former Qatari PM urges normal ties with Iran

June 8, 2019

TEHRAN – Qatar’s former prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, has called for peace with Iran, saying “we cannot fight them when we share the same fields of gas and oil.”

In an interview with the British newspaper Telegraph on Friday, Hamad bin Jassem said Qatar does not agree with all of Iran’s policies but he likened cutting ties with Iran to committing suicide.

“If we declare that Iran is our enemy, and our only path to the outside world – by air, sea, and land is Iran, because the border with the surrounding Arab countries is closed, should we commit suicide afterwards by not dealing with Iran because the Saudis say I should not,” he said.

“Qatar had a very different position on Syria than Iran, which supported President Assad. When the Saudi embassy in Tehran was attacked by the demonstrators in 2016, Qatar withdrew its ambassador from Iran in solidarity with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

“If you go to the UAE, the official figure is a few billion dollars, but informally, 10 or 20 billion dollars are exchanged between Iran and the UAE in terms of oil,” he said. “This is not done by Qatar, but by the UAE, which accuses us of terrorism with Iran.”

He also criticized Saudi Arabia for its accusations of terrorism and the kingdom’s share of responsibility for the Syrian crisis.

“This wound is deep, meaning the [Persian] Gulf province of his country, harming both sides. There are families that have been divided between the two countries, and there are brothers who cannot see each other, mothers who cannot see children, and children who cannot see the parents.”

On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade on it, claiming Doha supports terrorism. Doha denies this and accuses the quartet of seeking to impose its guardianship over its national decision.

MH/PA

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