The diplomats also discussed the ongoing war in Ukraine and the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani has discussed the latest developments in the nuclear talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
This came in a phone call between the two diplomats on Monday, following the visit of Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Iran over the weekend.
“The two sides reviewed the close bilateral relations between the State of Qatar and the United States, and ways to develop them in various fields, as well as the latest developments in the nuclear agreement talks,” said the Gulf state’s foreign ministry (MOFA).
The two officials also discussed the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since the start of the invasion on 24 February, Russia has killed at least 3,668 civilians, including 69 children in Ukraine, according to the UN.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the technical name of the 2015 nuclear accord, was high on the agenda at the meeting between Sheikh Tamim and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
Following his trip to Iran, the Amir is traveling to European countries that are also members of the p4+1, including Germany and the UK. The European tour is ongoing.
Qatar has been mediating between the US and Iran in an effort to salvage the nuclear accord.
Indirect talks between the US and Iran aimed at restoring the JCPOA have been taking place since April last year in Vienna.
The US unilaterally abandoned the deal in 2018 under the former Donald Trump Administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on the country.
In turn, it has reimposed sanctions on Tehran. The Islamic Republic has been demanding guarantees throughout the talks from the US that it will not back out of the deal again and the lifting of sanctions.
“We welcome any role that Qatar or other countries play to bring back the Americans to their promises, this is a role that will not be forgotten, not by the people of Iran, globally, nor history,” Iran’s Ambassador to Qatar Hamid Reza Dehghani told Doha News last week before the Amir’s visit to Tehran.
Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh
Secretary Blinken said that he also discussed with Sheikh Mohammed the tragic loss of Al Jazeera’s Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during the phone call.
Abu Akleh was killed last week by an Israeli sniper as she was covering the occupation’s raid of the Jenin camps. She was shot despite wearing her press flak jacket and helmet, clearly identifying her as a member of the press.
Al Jazeera said Abu Akleh was deliberately assassinated by Israeli forces. Witnesses said that bullet precisely hit her below the ear in an area that was not covered by the helmet she was wearing.
On Sunday, Haaretz, citing a Tel Aviv official, reported that an Israeli soldier ‘may have killed’ Abu Akleh after firing about 190 meters away from her, insisting it was not premeditated murder.
The US had called “for an immediate and thorough investigation and full accountability.”
“We call for an immediate and thorough investigation and full accountability. Investigating attacks on independent media and prosecuting those responsible are of paramount importance,” said former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on 11 May.
With no faith in the Israeli investigations, Palestinians, activists and officials across the world have called for an independent, transparent investigation.
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has also called on the US government to investigate the killing of Abu Akleh. Tlaib said that Washington should not allow “the same people committing those war crimes to do the investigation.”
“We need to investigate, ourselves, the killing of an American citizen. Somebody that was out there being a guardian of truth and doing her job was murdered by an apartheid government that we continue to fund with unconditional aid,” Tlaib told Al Jazeera in a televised interview last week.