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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Iran welcomes Qatar’s call for ‘inclusive’ regional talks

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Tehran’s statement came as a response to Doha’s latest remarks on its mediation efforts in the region.

Iranian foreign minister welcomed an invitation by his Qatari counterpart to hold “inclusive dialogue in the region”, the Tehran official said on Tuesday.

Javad Zarif in a tweet responded to Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani’s call for talks to deescalate tensions between major players in the region.

“[W]e have consistently emphasised, the solution to our challenges lies in collaboration to jointly form a ‘strong region’: peaceful, stable, prosperous & free from global or regional hegemony,” Zarif said.

The Tehran official’s statement came as a direct response to earlier remarks made by Al-Thani in an interview on Bloomberg, in which he “urged” Gulf Arab nations to engage in dialogue with Iran, adding that it was the “right time” for Doha to broker the negotiations.

When asked about the prospect of discussions between rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, Al-Thani said his government is “hopeful that this would happen and we still believe this should happen”.

Qatar has been particularly vocal about its openness for mediating between Saudi Arabia  and Iran, as well as Turkey, to ensure peace in the region amid a restoration of diplomatic ties with its neighbouring countries.

Following the signing of the Al Ula Declaration, GCC member states have agreed to not interfere in one another’s foreign policies and sovereignty, vowing to collaborate to ensure regional stability.

The reconciliation, announced on January 5th, marked the end of the regional dispute between Qatar and the quartet—Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt—over its relations with Iran and Turkey.

Read also: South Korea seeks Qatari mediation for release of Iran-seized oil tanker: reports

Questions on the future of Iran’s foreign affairs are now at the forefront as US President-elect Joe Biden is expected to assume presidency on Wednesday.

The incoming president is expected to reverse his predecessor Donald Trump’s aggressive policy against Iran, with experts believing a return to the historic nuclear deal is likely.

Going beyond the region, Al-Thani also said his government is supporting discussions between Iran and South Korea to help release the oil tanker captured by Tehran last week over “environmental pollution” claims, after an official request for assistance from Seoul.

Doha has also hosted various rounds of peace talks to establish peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban.


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