Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani flew to Iran for private discussions after previously offering to mediate between Iran and its Arab Gulf neighbors, notably regional rival Saudi Arabia, according to a Bloomberg article written by Golnar Motevalli.
The Qatari foreign minister met with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, on Sunday, only days after discussions in Washington, where the Biden administration is attempting to move away from the Trump administration’s confrontations with Iran. The United States has been in talks with Iran to rejoin the international nuclear agreement that former President Donald Trump pulled out from, though the said talks have been put on hold until Ebrahim Raisi, the Islamic Republic’s hardline president-elect, takes office in early August.
According to a statement from Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zarif and al-Thani discussed Iranian-Qatari relations as well as “the most important regional and international issues.”
He also spoke with Raisi, who informed him that regional ties will be Iran’s main foreign policy goal, according to the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency.
In January, al-Thani told Bloomberg TV that Qatar was prepared to mediate negotiations between Iran and its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, to address the crisis sparked by the collapse of the nuclear deal.
According to an unsourced report published Friday in Iran’s reformist Etemad daily, Tehran and Riyadh will soon formally re-establish ties, with Saudi Arabia planning to send a representative to Raisi’s inauguration next month.
In 2016, Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran following the execution of a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric in Riyadh, which prompted an attack on the Kingdom’s embassy in Tehran. Both sides are fighting proxy battles across the region, and Riyadh is opposed to efforts to resurrect the nuclear accord.