Rouhani Confers With Qatar, Turkey on Region, Relations

Rouhani Confers With Qatar, Turkey on Region, Relations
Rouhani Confers With Qatar, Turkey on Region, Relations

The chief executive discussed bilateral relations in separate phone conversations with Turkish and Qatari leaders, stressing Iran's desire to strengthen the bonds of friendship with the two neighbors amid new tensions in the region.

Speaking with Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Thursday, Rouhani stressed Iran's willingness to help resolve a diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf pitting the Arab kingdom against Saudi Arabia and its allies.

"Iran sees as unfair and a source of higher regional tensions what has been imposed on Qatar, and will make every effort [to benefit] the Qatari nation and regional stability," Rouhani's official website quoted him as saying.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a blockade on the peninsular nation in June, calling on the Qatari government to end its alleged support for terrorism and relations with Iran.

The Qatari government has so far resisted the pressure, rejecting the Saudi-led demands as an attempt to impose guardianship on the kingdom.

In a move that ran counter to Saudi requests, Qatar normalized its relations with Iran last week by returning its ambassador to Iran, after leaving the country in January 2016 in a show of solidarity with Saudi Arabia.

Tamim said his government seeks closer collaboration in all fields, believing this is in the interest of the two nations and the region.

The Arab leader said his country is grateful for the Iranian support for Qatar confronting "unjust sanctions".

"The Qatari government and nation are indebted to Iran for its opposition to these sanctions and opening of its air, sea and land borders to their country," he said.

Tehran has called for dialogue between the two sides to end the rift and has acted to address Qatar's urgent needs by providing it with food and other supplies and allowing Qataris to use Iranian airspace for traveling abroad.

***Need for Regional Cooperation

In his talk with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the same day, Rouhani said critical conditions in the region have made it essential for the two countries to expand cooperation to help restore calm to the region.

"Iran believes some separatist tendencies [in the region] and issues in the Persian Gulf are by no means to the benefit of peace and stability in the region," he said, pointing to a decision by Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government to hold an independence referendum in September and the Qatari-Saudi feud.

Erdogan said mutual cooperation to solve regional problems is quite valuable and important, and he is confident Tehran-Ankara relations would improve in Rouhani's second four years in office.


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