Need to Avoid Imprudent Response to Qatar Crisis

Need to Avoid Imprudent Response to Qatar Crisis  Need to Avoid Imprudent Response to Qatar Crisis

A lawmaker called on officials to be cautious in their interaction with Qatar in the wake of the worsening Arab crisis, saying that it would be wrong "to get emotional".

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and some smaller  countries severed relations as well as all land, marine and air connections with the tiny Arab nation last week over what they claimed was Doha's backing for alleged terrorist groups and Iran, prompting a crisis between the Persian Gulf Arab regimes. Qatar rejects the accusations. Iran should not get "emotional" about its interaction with Qatar, because at present it is not possible to develop strategic relations with the Arab country, Heshmatollah Falahatpishe, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said, adding that "in practice, Doha seems to have misgivings about this [level of relations with Tehran]."

For now, the two countries "do not have what is needed to raise relations to the strategic level. However, the potential for such relations exists."  

Iran and Qatar are in tune regarding some regional issues while having their own disagreements as well.

Qatar supports the Palestinian group Hamas and Egypt's ousted Muslim Brotherhood. Iran has backed Hamas and denounced the military coup in Egypt in July 2013, in which the democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi, also a Muslim Brotherhood member, was toppled. However, the two governments have supported opposing sides in Syria's six-year civil war, with Iran backing President Bashar Al-Assad, as opposed to Qatar which has supported the rebels fighting to topple the government in Damascus.

Iran and Qatar also share the world's largest gas field, which Iran calls South Pars and Qatar calls the North Field. It straddles their offshore Persian Gulf border and accounts for nearly all of Qatar's gas production and about 35% of Iran's output.

 Good Neighborliness

Following the Arab rupture, Qatar, whose landmass is mostly made up of deserts unsuitable for agriculture, saw a shortage of food and vegetables. It had been importing 80% of its food requirements from or through bigger Persian Gulf Arab neighbors before they cut ties with the nation of 2.5 million people.

Iran expressed readiness to help ease the shortage by transporting food and vegetables, sending several cargo planes of food to Qatar. Authorities in Tehran and private firms have said they have plans to supply 100 tons of fruit and vegetables every day.

Falahatpishe said what Iran did was based on "good neighborliness," adding that only time will tell how Iran-Qatar relations will develop.

"Everything depends on how long Qatar will insist on its stance, and how much it would cave in [to Saudi demands]."


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