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Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif to visit Qatar amid Gulf crisis

  • Published at 09:30 pm October 2nd, 2017
Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif to visit Qatar amid Gulf crisis

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif travelled to Oman for a day-long visit Monday with officials in the sultanate, which has served as a crucial link between Iran and the US in the past.

Mohammad Javad Zarif was met by Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, the minister responsible for foreign affairs, on his arrival in Muscat.

Topics of discussion included the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and other issues, according to Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency.

Zarif called Oman’s relations with Iran “exemplary” while on his visit

Zarif is due to travel to Qatar on Tuesday. His visit to the peninsular nation comes as four Arab nations are boycotting Qatar over its alleged support for extremists and what they say are Qatar’s overly warm ties to Iran. Qatar denies supporting extremists.

The four countries accuse Qatar of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shia rival Iran, charges that Doha denies.

Oman, a tiny sultanate across the water from Iran, has traditionally had closer ties with Tehran than its neighbours and has maintained relations with Qatar throughout the crisis.

Zarif's talks in Muscat covered "energy, the economy and transit" and the potential "transfer of Iranian gas through the Sultanate of Oman to India," according to the official Oman News Agency.

Oman and Iran in 2014 agreed to build an underwater pipeline to pump Iranian gas to the Omani port city of Sohar.

Zarif is due to meet Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said talks would focus on relations in the Gulf, economic cooperation and the latest developments in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Speaking in Paris last week, the Qatari foreign minister said moves by Qatar's rivals, including the cutting of trade and transport links, were actually pushing Doha into closer ties with Tehran.

"They accuse Qatar of being close to Iran but with their measure... they push Qatar towards Iran. They are giving Qatar like a gift to Iran," he said.

Qatar said in August it was restoring full diplomatic relations with Iran. Doha along with other Sunni Arab Gulf states had pulled its ambassador from Tehran in January 2016 following attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, spurred by Riyadh's decision to execute a Shia cleric in the kingdom.