Riyadh – In less than a week, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has said his country enjoyed deep and historical ties with Iran, and said during a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, that he wanted the ties with Tehran to be “stronger than ever before.”
The remarks confirm lingering suspicions circulating in the media world about the Emir’s statement, which Doha tried to deny and claimed its state news agency had been hacked.
The Emir called President Rouhani to congratulate him on the Holy Month of Ramadan. The phone call was preceded by another, right after the Riyadh summit was over during which he congratulated Rouhani on his re-election.
Sheikh Tamim expressed his belief that there is no obstacle on the way of deepening Iran-Qatar relations, adding that negotiations and dialogue are the only way of resolving regional issues.
According to Rouhani’s website, the president said there are ample grounds and potentials for developing Iran-Qatar cooperation in political and economic fields and the two countries should make the best use of them to promote relations.
Rouhani added: “Continuing cooperation with neighboring countries, especially the Persian Gulf neighbours, is one of Iran’s basic policies and we believe that we can remove the obstacles and strengthen brotherly bonds by firm resolve from both sides”.
Tamim’s statements are similar to the previously denied statements published by Qatar’s news agency (QNA). Officials claimed that the agency had been hacked and statements published were not true.
Earlier, QNA published a statement by Sheikh Tamim a day after the Arab-Islamic-US summit held in Riyadh during which he said “Iran represents a regional and Islamic power that cannot be ignored and it is unwise to face up against it.” The news also reported him saying Tehran is a big power in the stabilization of the region.
Saudi Political Expert Ahmad al-Farraj stated that the phone call of congratulations confirms that Qatar began new relations with Iran, adding that this move is against Riyadh summits which were against terrorism in the region backed by Iran.
During a phone call with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Farraj said that Doha is inaugurating new strategic relations with Tehran in response to Riyadh’s relations with Washington. He considered Qatar as part of the axis of Iran.
He added that Qatar’s message was clear and delivered to Saudi Arabia, hoping it will be received in the US in a manner that exposes Doha’s intentions in the region.
Previous events confirm that Emir of Qatar is keen on maintaining good relations with Iran as he previously described the relations with the republic as very good and friendly.
In March 2015, Tamim said during his reception of Speaker of the Iranian Shura Council
Ali Larijani that since the revolution, Iran had never created any problem.
Within the framework of enhancing relations, Qatar and Iran had signed in October 2015 a military security agreement, during a time Iran faces an international campaign to counter its terrorism in the region.
During a joint press conference with the Somali Foreign Minister, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed that the agency was hacked reiterating that this is part of a conspiracy against Qatar.
In Riyadh, the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman said during the summits that Iran is the spearhead of all terrorism since the Khomeini revolution until today, which is also reflected by the US administration’s confirmation that Iran spreads chaos in the region and is responsible for funding terrorists.