Iran’s Foreign Minister in a rare visit to Qatar


Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif and Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani discussed “regional developments” during the foreign ministers’ first visit to Doha since 2015.

Iran’s foreign minister held talks with the emir of Qatar, on Wednesday, during his first visit to the Gulf state since July 2015.

Mohammad Javad Zarif and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani discussed “regional developments” and bilateral relations, QNA state news agency said.

In January 2016, Qatar recalled its ambassador to Tehran in solidarity with Saudi Arabia after attacks on Saudi missions in Iran by protestors angry at Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric.

Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Kuwait and Oman in a lightning tour aimed at mending ties with his country’s Arab neighbours in the Gulf.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah visited Tehran earlier, calling for a “normalisation of ties and opening dialogue”.

His deputy, Khaled al-Jarallah, said he hoped Rouhani’s visit would lead to a dialogue between the Gulf states and Iran.

The elements needed for the dialogue, which were included in the emir’s letter, call for non-interference in the internal affairs of the Gulf states – which Iran is repeatedly accused of – respecting their sovereignty and establishing good neighbouring relations, Jarallah said in the comments published in Kuwait’s al-Qabas newspaper.

In December, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Manama asked Kuwait to initiate contacts with Tehran to start a dialogue to improve ties.

Kuwait, where 30 percent of native citizens are Shias, has maintained normal relations with Tehran despite taking part in the Saudi-led military campaign on Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Iran has had no diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia since January 2016, when demonstrators stormed the kingdom’s missions in Tehran and Mashhad in protest at the execution of the Saudi Shia cleric.

Ties were already strained between the region’s leading Shia and Sunni powers, which have taken opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.