Qatar Restores Full Diplomatic Relations with Iran
QATAR’S latest act of defiance is likely to cause anger as its damaging dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries continues.
Qatar restored full diplomatic relations with Iran early on Thursday and promised to send its ambassador back to Tehran — a move that flies in the face of the demands issued by neighbouring Arab nations.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates all cut ties with Qatar in June, and issued a letter demanding 13 actions be taken to restore relations.
Qatar ignored the demands and let a deadline to comply pass, creating an apparent stalemate in the crisis. Attempts by Kuwait, the US and others have failed to make headway.
The boycott of Qatar has continued including the suspension of flights to and from the country, although Saudi Arabia has allowed pilgrims to travel to Mecca for hajj.There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight, especially in light of Qatar’s latest move.
One of the demands the countries put to Qatar included a downgrading of its relationship with Iran, the Shiite-led country that is a regional foe for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-led nations.
It asked Qatar to shut its diplomatic posts in Iran, kick out any members of the Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US sanctions.But Qatar has announced it will restore relations with Iran instead, which will undoubtedly anger those opposing Qatar in the regional dispute, chief among them Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival.
Perhaps not unrelated, the move comes just days after Saudi Arabia began promoting a Qatari royal family member whose branch of the family was ousted in a palace coup in 1972.
“Qatar has shown it is going to go in a different direction,” Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University said.
“It could very well be calculated toward reinforcing the point that Qatar will not bow to this regional pressure placed upon it.”
Qatar pulled its ambassador from Tehran in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran, a move to show solidarity with the kingdom.
A short Foreign Ministry statement issued early Thursday changed that, saying Qatar’s ambassador soon would return to Iran.
“The state of Qatar expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields,” the statement said.
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