Qatar FM visiting Iran in 'nuclear diplomacy push'

Qatar FM visiting Iran in push to 'resolve nuclear tensions with US'
2 min read
15 February, 2021
Doha has expressed a desire to mediate negotiations between Iran and the US, as well as between Tehran and the Gulf Arab states.
The Qatari and Iranian foreign ministers will discuss 'bilateral and regional issues' [Getty]
Qatar's foreign minister will travel to Iran on Monday in an apparent bid to defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran over the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani - who serves as Qatar's deputy prime minister and top diplomat - will discuss with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif "bilateral and regional issues", Iranian media reported without giving further details.

The Qatari foreign minister's visit to Tehran comes as the United States and Iran are at a stand-off over the fate of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.

The US withdrew from the agreement under former US President Donald Trump.

Current President Joe Biden and the Iranian leadership have expressed commitment to returning to the terms of the deal but both sides have said they will not act on its terms before the other does so.

The fast-approaching date of February 21 marks a crucial deadline for both sides.

On that day, Iran is due to suspend visits by UN nuclear inspectors, pushing further away from the terms of the JCPOA. Tehran has said it will back down if the Biden administration nixes sanctions, an action Washington has refused until Iran lowers its uranium enrichment levels.

The Qatari foreign minister hopes to diffuse the crisis during his visit to Tehran, Iranian sources told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site.

Qatar has been working to come to a resolution, as stated by Foreign Minister bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in a press conference last week.

The foreign minister will likely carry with him an American offer, the sources said, but Tehran is unlikely to agree unless it includes a "tempting offer" with regards to sanctions.

Doha also hopes a resolution between Iran and the US will positively impact upon tensions with the Gulf Arab states.

Qatar's relations with Iran were part of objections that spurred Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and allies to cut off ties with Doha in 2017.

The three-year economic and diplomatic blockade was ended with an American- and Kuwaiti-brokered agreement earlier this year.

Doha will support negotiations to resolve tensions between Iran and the Gulf Arab nations, the foreign minister said last week.

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