Tehran, Iran – Iran’s foreign minister has held high-level talks in Qatar after a visit to Oman, countries that have a history of trying to mediate between Iran and the United States on their 2015 nuclear deal.
Hossein Amirabdollahian landed in Doha in the early hours of Tuesday and met with both Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
The Iranian foreign ministry said Amirabdollahian and the emir discussed the latest developments in Vienna, where negotiations are continuing to restore the nuclear deal with world powers through lifting US sanctions and scaling back Iran’s nuclear programme.
After a months-long pause, talks in Vienna to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known, began in late November.
The US, which unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, is taking part indirectly.
All sides have recently concurred that progress has been made in the intensive talks, but more work is required to achieve a final agreement.
Western parties continue to warn that time is limited due to Iran’s nuclear advancements. But Iran, which maintains it will never seek a nuclear weapon, says it wants nothing short of a “good deal” to fully restore the nuclear accord and enjoy its economic benefits.
Amirabdollahian and Al Thani on Tuesday also discussed ways of improving bilateral relations, something they said is a priority for both nations. Amirabdollahian also said Iran is ready to boost ties across the region in “bilateral or multilateral formats”.
Meetings in Oman
Amirabdollahian was in Muscat on Monday, where he met with Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, the long-serving deputy to the sultan, on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues.
According to the Iranian foreign ministry, he informed al-Said of the latest developments in Vienna, and said Iran has proposed practical solutions and is serious to reach an agreement.
Amirabdollahian also said Oman is a major priority in President Ebrahim Raisi’s foreign policy of developing close ties with regional neighbours, and Iran would like to further cultivate political, economic and cultural relations.
The two also discussed Yemen, where Iran and Saudi Arabia support opposing sides in a bitter seven-year civil war.
Oman recently facilitated the transfer of Iran’s top envoy in Yemen after he fell ill. Hassan Irloo died in Tehran days later, and Iran blamed Saudi Arabia for delaying his transfer.
In addition to meeting with Oman’s foreign minister, Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi, Amirabdollahian also used his Muscat visit to sit down with the Yemeni Houthis’ top negotiator, Mohammed Abdulsalam.
The Iranian foreign minister told him Iran wants an end to the war in Yemen, and believes only dialogue between different local factions can result in a stable political future.
“This is a Yemeni issue and Yemeni-Yemeni talks can set the political future of the country,” he said, according to the foreign ministry.
Tehran and Riyadh have so far held four rounds of direct talks hosted by Iraq in order to resolve the Yemeni issue and bilateral hostilities. A fifth round is expected soon.