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Flirting with Doha, Tehran Calls to ‘Reject Tension’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi. (Photo by AFP)

London – Following Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced severing ties with Qatar, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, called on Gulf states to “renounce tension through dialogue.”

Other Tehran officials tried to build bridges with Doha by attacking countries that joined the boycott. Former diplomats have warned their government of the consequences of “investing the Qatar’s card in Gulf tensions.”

“The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders … is not a way to resolve crisis,” Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted on Monday.

Aboutalebi reiterated his country’s disdain and criticism of the Arab-Islamic-US summit held in Riyadh in May, unleashing a wave of harsh criticism towards each of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday urged Qatar and neighboring Gulf Arab countries that have severed diplomatic ties with it to engage in dialogue to resolve their dispute.

“Neighbors are permanent- geography can’t be changed. Coercion is never the solution. Dialogue is imperative,” Zarif tweeted.

According to AFP, foreign ministry spokesman Ghasemi said in a statement that a solution to the differences between Qatar and its three Gulf neighbors “is only possible through political and peaceful methods and dialogue between the parties”.

“Using sanctions in today’s integrated world is inefficient, to be condemned and unacceptable,” Ghasemi added of Qatar’s neighbors closing all land, sea and air links with it.

Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, head of the office of former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, attacked Saudi policy, saying severing relations with Qatar was an “Arab earthquake.” He called on Iran to abstain from interfering and that rationale prevails with what concerns Iranian involvement in intra-Gulf affairs.

“Turkey, Iran and Iraq should hold a tripartite meeting to call on the OIC Council to resolve the issue of Qatar,” Mohsen Rezaee, the Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council said. He also attacked gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, over their opposition of Qatar and Iranian foreign policy.

On the other hand, the former director of the Middle East Affairs in the Iranian Foreign Minister called for “carefully handling” the Arab-Arab relations issue, saying that the differences are “old.”

Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood in countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and Syria has caused tension, he said.

Qatari refusal to stop this support forced the tension to go public.