Nuclear deal: Qatar promotes dialogue between the US and Iran

Saudi Arabia had opposed the Iran nuclear deal and tried to enforce a blockade in 2017, cutting links with Qatar, which has good relations with Tehran.

The Qatari foreign minister has called for a reduction of tensions with Iran, as well as dialogue between Iran and GCC countries. As negotiators prepare to begin a fourth and potentially crucial round of indirect talks to try to revive the Iran nuclear deal, Qatar is urging the US and Iran to engage in “positive” negotiations.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said the country is urging a reduction in tensions between Washington and Tehran as negotiators from both sides meet separately in Vienna on Friday with European, Russian, and Chinese representatives to try to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal.

“We have solid and strategic ties with Washington, and we have good relations with Tehran, and we don’t want to raise tensions that will damage Qatar and the region,” Foreign Minister Al Thani said.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Al Thani said, “There are constant calls with the US and Iran, and motivation for them to participate in constructive dialogue.”

 The Iran-US agreement will be reached soon

In Washington, a senior US State Department official said on Thursday an agreement could be reached within weeks on a path for Washington and Tehran to resume compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if Iran makes a political decision to do so.

“Is it likely that we’ll see a shared return to compliance, or at least an acknowledgement of mutual compliance, in the coming weeks?” Yeah, it’s possible,” the official said over the phone to reporters on the condition of anonymity.

The United Nations-backed deal, which was reached in 2015, required Iran to scale back its nuclear program and refrain from producing fissile material for nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from harsh economic sanctions.

Read here: Iran’s parliament approves a bill to stop nuclear investigation

Even though Iran had been abiding by the agreement’s terms, former President Donald Trump abandoned it in 2018 and reinstated US sanctions. Iran started enriching uranium using more advanced centrifuges about a year later, causing concern among its Arab neighbours.

“The GCC countries and Iran have common concerns, and there need to be direct talks to resolve these fears,” said Al Thani, who led a high-level delegation to Tehran in February to negotiate the nuclear deal and tensions between Iran and Arab rivals. The Gulf Cooperation Council’s bid to have its concerns about Iran’s nuclear program answered in any revived version of the 2015 deal, Iran’s foreign ministry warned last month, will derail the talks in Vienna.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, “Their purpose in bringing up such statements is not to ask for participation, but to interrupt the process of technical talks in Vienna.”

The role of Saudi Arabia in the Iran nuclear deal

Saudi Arabia had opposed the Iran nuclear deal and tried to enforce a blockade in 2017, cutting links with Qatar, which has good relations with Tehran.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states declared in January that the sanctions against Qatar will be lifted. In a diplomatic attempt to open channels and reduce hostilities, Saudi Arabia and Iran met in Iraq recently.

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