Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has expressed support for Qatar, dismissing any “unjust and unfair pressures” on Doha by its Arab neighbours, as he urged the Gulf countries to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiations.
His comments on Tuesday came as a regional diplomatic dispute has entered its eighth month.
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The Iranian leader made the remarks during a meeting with the speaker of Qatar’s Advisory Council, Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, in Tehran, the Iranian capital.
“We believe that any pressure on the Qatari government and people is unacceptable, and if there are differences between the countries of the region, especially the neighbour countries, they should only be resolved through dialogue,” Rouhani said on the sidelines of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC) Conference.
The Gulf dispute began on June 5 last year when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting “extremism and terrorism” in the Middle East and fostering ties with their rival Iran. Doha has vehemently refuted the charges.
Rouhani reiterated Iran’s cooperation with Qatar amid the dispute.
“Iran and Qatar have always been friend and brother,” he said. “Based on its political will, Iran tends to develop all-out cooperation with Qatar.”
For his part, Al Mahmoud appreciated Iran’s support for Qatar’s government and its people.
“We’re happy that Doha-Tehran ties are based on friendship, brotherliness and good neighbourliness,” he said.
“Thanks to the help and support of its friends, especially Iran, Qatar today is firmly standing against allegations and conspiracies,” the Qatari delegate added.
Iran is currently hosting parliamentary delegations from 44 Islamic countries in its capital for an annual OIC conference, which got under way on Saturday.
Tensions have been rising in the Gulf region after Qatar filed two complaints at the United Nations over alleged violations of its airspace by Emirati military aircraft.
On Monday, the UAE alleged that Qatari fighter jets intercepted two Emirati passenger flights to Bahrain – claims which were denied by Doha as “completely false”.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the family of a Qatari royal family member confirmed that he was being held against his will in Abu Dhabi.
Qatar is seeking international arbitration in an attempt to end the blockade imposed on by the Saudi-led group.