Qatar likely to mediate between Iran, US, official says

Qatar has reiterated its readiness to mediate between Iran and the United States days after newly elected President Joe Biden took office

“Qatar is ready to mediate between Iran and the United States as the new US President, Joe Biden, assumes office after the turbulent years of the Trump administrations,” Lolwah Al-Khater, spokeswoman for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, told to Spanish EFE news agency.

She stated that Iran and the Gulf’s Arab states are both geographical realities in the region and that’s why they need to start direct dialogue.

Al-Khater also pointed to Qatar’s trade ties with Iran and Turkey during the GCC crisis, saying that these ties helped Qatar achieve a GDP growth more than that of its neighbors.

Last week, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Muhammad Javad Zarif, welcomed the Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani’s invitation for a comprehensive dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Tehran.

In 2018, Trump led a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran, pulling Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran and reimposing punishing sanctions.

The sanctions targeted Iran’s vital oil sales and international banking ties, plunging its economy into a deep recession.

Last Wednesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called out the departure of “tyrant” US counterpart Donald Trump, who was due to leave office later in the day making way for Biden.

A “tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said in televised remarks to his cabinet.

The Gulf reconciliation between Qatar and the blockading Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Bahrain) was a positive step for the Gulf states. It will help them to emerge from the ordeal that they created, by increasing their hostility towards Iran and exaggerating their dependence on the US and the West, to support them against Iran.

The Qatari policy towards rival states in the region was more reasonable. It did not burn bridges between itself and its brothers in the Gulf, nor between itself and Iran, and maintained relations with Turkey and Egypt.

It was not harsh in its disagreement with any of the countries in the region, even with the countries exaggerating in declaring their hostility towards Qatar. It is the mistake of exaggeration, which can be called political and media extremism, and a lack of precaution for changing conditions and circumstances. However, such precaution is a principle of Islam, according to the Quranic verses:

“Good and evil cannot be equal. Respond to evil with what is best, then the one you are in a feud with will be like a close friend. But this cannot be obtained except by those who are patient and who are truly fortunate.” (Fussilat, 34-35)

Egyptian foreign policy has shrunk behind a wall of negativity, and has remained far from the developments of events in the region, despite it possessing mechanisms allowing it to solve all the problems of the region, thus gaining leadership, status, and material and moral benefits.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani announced on Wednesday, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, that his country is willing to mediate a meeting that would bring together the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with Iran.

Al-Thani shared that he was “hopeful that this would happen, and we still believe this should happen,” noting that it was a desire shared by the GCC countries.

Last week, Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, the special advisor to the Qatari foreign minister, announced his country’s willingness to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and indicated that his country saw no objection if Saudi Arabia requested this mediation.

Qatar was able to solve its diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and also with Egypt, which lasted more than three years, as a result of these countries accusing Qatar of supporting terrorist groups and its rapprochement with Iran. Based on this, these countries imposed a sea, land and air blockade on Qatar.

Qatar’s ambition does not stop at mediation between Iran and the Gulf states alone, but also extends to mediation between Iran and Egypt. It even goes as far as mediating between Iran and the US, as the Qatari Foreign Minister also noted that they were willing to facilitate dialogue between Iran and US if the two sides ask them to do so. They are willing to achieve this and be present during the dialogue.

It is not unusual for Iran to announce that it has previously confirmed its willingness to negotiate with Washington if it returns to the nuclear agreement, provided that the talks are within the framework of the agreement on the previous rules.

What is strange, however, is for Qatar to mediate between Iran and Egypt, although Iran wants to negotiate with Egypt to restore normal relations between them without any mediation. However, refusal of this is coming from Egypt, on the pretext that the time and circumstances do not currently allow for this.

The problem with Egyptian foreign policy, is that it neglected the proactive approach taken by the major countries and countries that want to gain a regional position. It is unclear why their foreign policy fears this concept. What is the philosophy behind its contraction? What does it want to achieve from this policy? Such policy suggests that it is politically weak. However, in reality it is not, but adopting this policy portrays it as such.

While the state is seeking to rebuild Egypt, promoting the slogan “Long Live Egypt”, some state institutions do not view this slogan in a positive light, and are not employing mechanisms to achieve it on the ground.

Unfortunately, these institutions bear their weight in the state, such as foreign affairs, education, higher education and scientific research.