Qatar backs Iranian-Saudi dialogue

May 8, 2021 - 17:19

TEHRAN – Qatar has voiced support for dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia, calling such a dialogue a constructive step toward regional stability. 

Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said his country welcomes any dialogue between Tehran and Riyadh. 

“We welcome any dialogue or efforts and a positive spirit related to relations between Iran and the [Persian] Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, and we support such efforts and believe that dialogue is a constructive step toward the stability of the region,” the chief Qatari diplomat said in an interview with Al Jazeera.

He added, “We always encourage dialogue and diplomatic efforts, and there are concerns between the two parties (the Persian Gulf and Iran), and there must be direct dialogue on these concerns.” 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman also touched on the current state of play between Iran and the United States, saying his country does not mediate between the two countries but is in close contact with both of them. 

He said Qatar enjoys strategic relations with Washington and good relations with Iran. He also revealed that his country is in continuous contact with Washington and Tehran and urged them to engage in dialogue in a positive way.

“We do not want to increase tension, which will reflect negatively on Qatar and the region,” Shiekh Mohammed said. 

“We find that continuous and constructive dialogue between the two parties is the way to return to the nuclear agreement. We hope that the Vienna negotiations will succeed and that all concerns of all parties will be addressed, and we hope that these negotiations will result in regional efforts and a regional dialogue between Iran and the region,” he pointed out, according to Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq. 

According to the Qatari foreign minister, stability will only take place through diplomatic efforts.

He said in addition to the P5+1 group of countries, the Persian Gulf Arab states should also have a direct dialogue with Iran to solve the problems.

Iran and Qatar are in close contact. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad paid a visit to the tiny Persian Gulf nation in late April. During his meeting with the Qatari foreign minister, the Iranian foreign minister highlighted the importance of Tehran-Doha relations as well as bilateral and regional cooperation, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry. Zarif said Iran’s approach is to boost its relations with the regional countries. The chief Iranian diplomat also met with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. During his meeting with the emir of Qatar, Zarif also expounded on Iran’s regional policies when it comes to expanding relations with countries in the region as well as the latest developments pertaining to Iran’s talks with the P4+1 group in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

Earlier in January, Qatar called on the Persian Gulf’s Arab states to seize on the momentum of reconciliation drive in the region and patch up their differences with Iran. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, the Qatari foreign minister expressed hope that a summit between leaders of the six-member Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and Iran would happen.

“We are hopeful that this [summit] would happen and we still believe that this should happen. And I think this is also a desire that being shared among the other GCC countries. I just mentioned to you that there is a difference between the countries on the way how to approach such a dialogue. Also from the Iranian side. They have expressed their willingness several times to engage with the GCC countries,” the Qatari foreign minister said.

He said the time should come when the Persian Gulf’s Arab states will sit at the table with Iran and reach a common understanding. “We have to live with each other. We cannot change geography. Iran cannot move the GCC away from its neighborhood and the GCC cannot move Iran from the neighborhood,” bin Abdulrahman continued.
Iran welcomed the Qatari call for dialogue between Iran and the Persian Gulf’s Arab states, underlining that the solution to the region’s challenges lies in cooperation to form a strong region free from foreign interference.

“Iran welcomes my brother FM @MBA_AlThani's call for inclusive dialogue in our region. As we have consistently emphasized, the solution to our challenges lies in collaboration to jointly form a 'strong region': peaceful, stable, prosperous & free from global or regional hegemony,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet following the Qatari foreign minister’s call for dialogue.

Over the past few weeks, there have been plenty of press reports claiming that Iran and Saudi Arabia have held a direct meeting in Baghdad for the first time in years. A Saudi official at the Saudi Foreign Ministry confirmed the Baghdad talks on Friday, saying they aim to reduce regional tensions.

“As to current Saudi-Iranian talks they aim to explore ways to reduce tensions in the region,” Rayed Krimly, head of policy planning at the Saudi Foreign Ministry, told Reuters. “We hope they prove successful, but it is too early, and premature, to reach any definitive conclusions. Our evaluation will be based on verifiable deeds, and not proclamations.”