Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will visit Iran, Germany, the United Kingdom, and other European countries this week on a trip that will likely be focussed around efforts to restore Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal as well as energy security in Europe, according to Reuters.
According to the source, the Amir will visit Iran before embarking on a “extensive visit to the EU and UK,” which has yet to be publicly announced.
During the European part of the trip, a primary focus will be on how to “bridge the gap” regarding nuclear talks that have been on hold since March, as well as liquefied natural gas and energy security, according to the source.
On Sunday, Iranian state media announced that the Amir would visit Iran to strengthen ties, but gave no specific date or any additional information.
The source said the Amir’s trip also aimed to bring the parties to the Iran nuclear pact to “a new middle ground.”
Qatar’s mediating role
In March Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani held talks regarding the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.
During the same month Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani also met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov amidst fears over the impact of Russia’s invasion on talks aimed at restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Qatar’s foreign minister emphasised the significance of Iranian and Qatari relations as well as the “positive outcomes” that were signed between the two countries during the President Raisi’s visit in February.
Earlier this year Qatar’s Amir said his country was ready to do what it can to help bring an agreeable solution to all parties.
Qatar has previously called on the United States and Iran to engage in “positive” discussions as negotiators get ready to hold a decisive round of talks to try to revive the Iran nuclear deal.
The US quit the deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, who said it was not tough enough and embarked on a campaign of “maximum pressure” on Tehran, including harsh new sanctions. Iran has maintained that its nuclear programme is peaceful.
Europe’s demand for LNG
Last week Qatar reclaimed its title as the world’s top liquefied natural gas [LNG] exporter, after lowered winter demand took the US down to the second place.
In April, the Gulf nation’s LNG exports surpassed 7.5 million metric tons, clinching the title from the U.S, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.
In the wake of the war in Ukraine, Germany and other European countries have tried to strengthen energy ties with Qatar as they seek alternatives to Russian gas amid supply concerns and rising prices.
Low temperatures and high demand has spiked the prices of fuel globally. European gas prices rose by as much as 20% as a result of the move before levelling out. As payment deadlines approach, governments and businesses throughout Europe must decide whether to comply with the new regulations or risk potential gas rationing.
Doha has also stressed that it will not be able to unilaterally replace Europe’s energy supply in the event of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Gulf state said that it could possibly divert 10-15% of its LNG shipping volumes, as Reuters reported in March.