Iran’s foreign minister delivered a plaque of honour for the late Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh to his Qatari counterpart, to give to her family members in Palestine..
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met with Turkey’s president on Friday to discuss their countries’ strategic bilateral relations as well as means to enhance them in all fields.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency on Saturday, Director of Communications in the Turkish Presidency Fahrettin Altun highlighted the significance of Sheikh Tamim’s visit to Ankara in fostering a stronger strategic and “brotherly” relation between the two nations.
The Amir’s trip to Turkey takes place in the context of ongoing regional and geopolitical issues, where both countries have diplomatically common positions regarding a series of mutual grounds. Qatar’s military cooperation with Turkey is a testament to their proactive stance on regional conflicts.
“There is continuous communication and coordination between Turkey and Qatar on many issues, especially political issues and the developments in the region, and the two countries have similar visions on many issues, especially Syria, Palestine and Libya,” Altun said.
The visit to Ankara comes following the Amir’s recent trip to Tehran where he met with top Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Amir in Iran
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met the Iranian Supreme Leader and President Ebrahim Raisi in the Iranian capital for talks that centered around bilateral and regional issues in addition to efforts to revive Iran’s 2015 Nuclear Deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“The current level of economic relations between the two countries is low and must be multiplied,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to the supreme leader’s official website. “Also, in political issues there is ground for more exchange of views and we hope this trip can become a new origin for expanding cooperation.”
The Amir concurred that regional issues must be resolved through dialogue, and also said he hopes Tehran and Doha can significantly further bolster economic ties by next year.
Iranian expert, Hassan Hanizadeh said that Qatar is the diplomatic link that could potentially connect Tehran to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as per the Islamic Republic News Agency’s report.
The 13th administration began working with some GCC member states right after the current Iranian president announced in the first few days of his presidency that Tehran was ready to interact with neighbours, Persian Gulf states in specific.
As a GCC member, “Qatar has had a proper relationship with Iran based on mutual respect for the last four decades, serving as a connecting link between Tehran and the GCC,” Hanizadeh continued.
Qatar’s Amir arrived in Tehran on May 12, which was also in conjunction with the second day of negotiations between Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani and the European Union’s coordinator for the nuclear talks, Enrique Mora, according to Al-Jazeera.
However, during the Amir’s one day stay in Iran, neither side publically discussed the nuclear deal and rather focused on regional issues. This was despite Sheikh Tamim’s emphasis on his support of the nuclear accord’s restoration.
The Qatari leader is set to pay a visit to a series of European countries. Doha and some European officials are seen attempting to facilitate stalled indirect dialogues between Tehran and Washington. The talks delay has been an impediment to achieving a finalised agreement on the relaunching of the landmark JCPOA that the United States unilaterally abandoned in 2018.
Possible restoration of the JCPOA
On May 11, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and the EU’s coordinator for the nuclear talks, Enrique Mora held a meeting in Tehran where they discussed the possible revival of the nuclear deal with world powers that has been in deadlock since March, mainly due to Tehran’s demand that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the infamous US list of designated terrorist organisations.
On Friday, the EU’s foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell said he believed there had been adequate progress during consultations between his envoy and Iranian officials in Tehran. Josep Borrell said Iran’s response had been “positive enough” after Mora had delivered a message that things “could not” continue as they were, Reuters reported.
“Let’s say the negotiations were blocked and they have been de-blocked”, Borrell continued, with the prospect of “reaching a final agreement.”
On Saturday, Qatar’s foreign minister held a phone call with US Special Envoy Robert Malley to discuss the nuclear deal amongst other regional developments.
Palestine high on the agenda
Talks about the region predominantly seemed to have focused on occupied Palestine and Israel’s explicit violence against indigenous Palestinians.
Ayatollah Khamenei backed the Amir’s condemnation of crimes committed by the Zionist regime and noted that Iran expects the entire Arab world to confront and stand up to those crimes. The supreme leader criticised what he called the limited responses from Arab countries to Zionist aggression in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, and said their stances were weaker than those of European nations’.
“Regarding the Arab countries’ approach toward the Zionist regime, whether it is out of fear or avarice, they should know that today that usurper regime is in a situation that neither should it be coveted for some benefit nor should it be feared,” the Iranian supreme leader said.
The Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian mutually condemned the assassination of the Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and criticised the lack of accountability by the international and human rights organisations in such cases.
A member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Fada Hossein Maleki said on Saturday that Sheikh Tamim’s visit to Iran “thwarted the plot” to normalise Arab relations with the Zionist regime and demonstrated that the country “strives to strengthen its strategic ties” with Iran.