Qatar restores ties with Iran despite GCC sanctions

24 August 2017 17:55 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Qatar has begun to strengthen its diplomatic relationship with Iran in defiance of demands from some of its neighbours that it dial back its relations with Iran, according to the country’s foreign ministry.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani held a phone call with Iranian Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on Wednesday regarding the strengthening of bilateral ties, despite ongoing sanctions by Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf countries.

The Qatari government also announced that it is reopening diplomatic channels to Iran by returning an ambassador to Tehran.

Qatar has faced sanctions from several Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates since early June, which saw shipments from the country blocked from ports and trade routes in and over those countries.

Chemicals participants in the region have noted little pronounced impact on trade from the sanctions so far, but have expressed unease about the implications of the chill running longer, which it seems set to do.

The countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, later issuing a series of ultimatums that demanded the government sever ties with Iran and shutter state news agency Al-Jazeera, along with a reported 11 other articles.

Qatar rejected the demands, reportedly stating that the list was “unrealistic and not actionable”.

By Tom Brown