In June, Qatar released seven Iranian nationals who had been imprisoned in the Gulf nation.
Two Iranian prisoners detained in Qatar have been released and returned to their home country, Tehran’s envoy confirmed in a X post on Tuesday.
The pair was released and sent back to Iran on Monday night after assistance from the Iranian embassy in Doha. According to Ambassador Dr Hamidreza Dehghani, the two individuals used the Hayya Card to enter the country.
The Hayya card was launched ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to serve as an entry permit for fans entering the country.
While their entry into Qatar was legitimate, the unnamed Iranians engaged in employment in the Gulf country without mandatory permits.
Dehghani said the Iranian embassy had long-cautioned its citizens that the Hayya Card should not be misconstrued as a valid work permit for activities in the Arab nation, even prior to the incident, Xinhua news agency reported.
The latest developments come after Qatar released seven other Iranian nationals who were imprisoned in the Gulf nation back in June.
Among them, six had been detained for unlawfully entering Qatar’s territorial waters.
Separately in May, two Iranian prisoners detained in Qatar were sent to prisons back home. The woman and young man under the age of 20 were transported to Iran after spending time jailed in the Gulf state for drug offences.
Also in May, the Iranian diplomat confirmed 87 Iranians were in Qatari prisons and noted that they were all detained due to drug-related offences. He said the Iranian embassy in Doha has taken good measures to exchange and transfer prisoners to Iran to continue serving their sentences.
That came after a visit by Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi to Doha, in which Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani approved the transfer of 28 imprisoned Iranians to Iran, Dehghani added at the time.
In April, Dehghani announced that 17 Iranians who were detained for unintentionally entering Qatari seas had been released.
The individuals who were seized were imprisoned for entering Qatari seas “by mistake,” said Dehghani. However, the timing of the men’s arrest and the length of their confinement were not disclosed.
The repatriation of prisoners to Iran comes as Qatar engages in heavy diplomatic efforts to mediate between Tehran and Washington.
Acting as intermediaries between the decades-old foes over the past two years, Qatari diplomats have worked diligently to help bridge the gap and facilitate an elusive agreement between Tehran and Washington.
Qatar’s shuttle diplomacy had helped work towards an agreement to conduct a milestone prisoner exchange that has seen five Americans detained in Iran released on house arrest.
Now, reports say Iran and the United States are reportedly set to conduct the prisoner exchange in Qatar for the first time in the coming weeks.
Doha is also expected to cover the expenses associated with unfreezing Iran’s assets that are held in a restricted account in South Korea, as per agreements for the potential prisoner exchange, insider sources told Amwaj.media
The developments have yet to be publicly confirmed by authorities in Doha, however it comes after Qatar confirmed its role in mediating between the two sides.