Iran‘s President Hassan Rouhani has stressed his country’s willingness to strengthen relations with Qatar, and called regional tensions with Tehran “detrimental”.
In a phone call on Wednesday between Rouhani and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the two leaders exchanged Eid al-Fitr greetings.
“The points of view of Tehran and Doha are very close in many regional issues and the frequent contact between the two countries are very productive,” the website of the Iranian presidency quoted Sheikh Tamim as saying.
The emir also emphasized that Qatar is eager to developing relations with Iran in all fields and that negotiation is the only way to ease current tensions in the region.
Last month, attacks on oil assets, including on two Saudi oil tankers of the coast of the United Arab Emirates, spurred Saudi Arabia to call for three emergency summits in Mecca.
While no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, Saudi King Salman blasted Iran for what he called its “naked aggression” against the region’s “stability and international security”.
Iran hit back, saying the accusations were baseless, and that Saudi Arabia had joined the United States and Israel in a “hopeless” effort to mobilise regional opinion against it.
The final statement of the summits, which Qatar attended, denounced Iran over escalating tensions.
Yet Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulraman Al Thani later said the statement – which was made without his country’s input – did not reflect Doha’s foreign policy.
“The statements condemned Iran but did not refer to a moderate policy to speak with Tehran,” Abdulrahman said.
President Rouhani welcomed Qatar’s stances, saying they are based “on the policy of good neighbourliness and aimed at reducing tensions”.
“Without a doubt, any summit that does not bring regional countries closer together will be ineffective, counterproductive and even harmful,” he said.
Rouhani stated that his country wants to strengthen regional security “and has no intentions to have conflicts with other countries or even major world powers” but will deliver a “decisive response” if they start undertaking unwise moves.
“Regional issues have no military solution and we believe that threat, pressure, siege, and economic sanctions are wrong moves in relations between governments,” Rouhani said.
“Iran’s stance towards Kuwait’s occupation by Saddam, Saudi Arabia and UAE’s invasion on Yemen, and the siege of Qatar proves that Iran is against war, pressure and sanctions in this region,” he added.
The president also called out Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s position against Qatar and their war against Yemen, as well as their antagonism towards Iran.
“Their (Saudi and UAE’s) relations will be detrimental to the entire region,” he said.