Qatar’s emir wants ties with Iran to be ‘stronger than ever before’

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. (AP)
Updated 28 May 2017

Qatar’s emir wants ties with Iran to be ‘stronger than ever before’

JEDDAH: Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has said his country enjoyed deep and historical ties with Iran.
In a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, Al-Thani said he wanted the ties with Iran to be “stronger than ever before.”
The remarks confirm lingering suspicions that have been swirling in the world media that Qatar was in league with Iran against its fellow Arab and Gulf countries. Iran is seen as the root cause of all the troubles in the Arab world — from Syria to Iraq, to Yemen and Lebanon.
Al-Thani said he will instruct the authorities in his country to exert all efforts to develop relations with Tehran. Rouhani stressed that one of Iran’s foreign policy pillars is continuation of cooperation with Qatar.
In comments that will be seen as ironical, Rouhani said that sectarianism is a major scourge that affects everybody’s security. Iran has vociferously and militarily promoted sectarianism in the Arab world through its armed militias.
Rouhani called for strengthening cooperation between the countries of the region to bring about stability and harmony.
While underlining the importance Iran pays to developing relations with neighboring countries, especially Qatar, the Iranian president expressed confidence in the possibility of doing away with obstacles to such ties through the strong will of all countries, particularly Iran and Qatar.
Iran, said Rouhani, seeks to spread a climate of moderation and logic in the relations among the region’s countries, and gives priority to political solutions.
He added that the countries of the region need more consultation and exchange of ideas to resolve and contain regional challenges, and declared Iran’s readiness to cooperate in this regard.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE expressed exasperation this week after official Qatar media published remarks purported to have been made by Sheikh Tamim, which were critical of Trump’s foreign policy and of renewed tensions with Tehran.
Qatar said the remarks, published late on Tuesday, were fake and that the news agency that ran them had been hacked.

US accuses Iran of destabilizing Mideast with missile program

Updated 20 March 2019

US accuses Iran of destabilizing Mideast with missile program

  • Cites Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • Says Iran's ballistic missile test and satellite launches violated UN Security Council resolution

JEDDAH: Iran’s missile program is destabilizing the Middle East, and Tehran risks starting a regional arms race by supplying weapons to armed groups in Lebanon and Yemen, a senior US arms control official said on Tuesday.

“Iran must immediately cease activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and halt the proliferation of missiles and missile technology to terror groups and other non-state actors,” Yleem Poblete, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, said in a speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Iran’s missile program is a key contributor to increased tensions and destabilization in the region, increasing the risk of a regional arms race,” she said, denouncing Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

She said Iran had provided ballistic missiles to the Houthis that were fired into Saudi Arabia and unmanned aerial systems to Houthi groups that enable strikes against land-based targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “We are committed to aggressively countering Iran’s regional proliferation of ballistic missiles and its unlawful arms transfers,” she said.

US President Donald Trump said when he quit the 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities that the agreement failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional meddling.

The US has accused Iran of defying a UN Security Council resolution by carrying out a ballistic missile test and two satellite launches since December.

Poblete urged “all responsible countries” to enforce UN Security Council resolutions restricting the transfer of missile-related technologies to Iran. She also accused Iran of “pursuing pharmaceutical-based agents for offensive purposes,” but did not provide details.

Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh said Iran had the largest ballistic program in the Middle East. “Through its ballistic missile program, the Iranian regime appears determined to escalate tensions in the region and seek every opportunity to project its power in order to reassert its hegemony,” he said. “The international community ought to hold Tehran accountable for its military adventurism and violations of international standards.”