Iran foreign minister visits Oman, Qatar amid diplomatic standoff

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani greets Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif during their meeting in Doha on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 03 October 2017
0

Iran foreign minister visits Oman, Qatar amid diplomatic standoff

DUBAI: Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday met with Qatar’s emir as a quartet of Arab states continues its boycott of the energy-rich nation, in part over relations that Doha maintains with Tehran.
Zarif on Monday met with Omani officials, including Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has ruled Oman since 1970 and has served as an interlocutor between the West and Iran.
Zarif was met by Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, the minister responsible for foreign affairs, on his arrival in Muscat.
Topics of discussion included the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and other issues, according to Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency.
Zarif called Oman’s relations with Iran “exemplary,” and told Omani state television that “we also live in a very difficult neighborhood and we want to engage in continuous consultation.”
On Tuesday, Iranian state media published images of Zarif in Doha meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. It marks Zarif’s first trip to Qatar since the diplomatic crisis began in June.
“None of the regional crises have a military solution,” Zarif said at the meeting, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency. All sides should “give priority to regional initiations for restoring collective stability and security.”
A short report on the state-run Qatar News Agency said the two “exchanged views on the current situation in the region,” without elaborating.
Iran and Qatar have strong shared commercial interests, namely a massive offshore natural gas field, called the South Pars Field by Tehran and the North Field by Doha.


Iran builds new centrifuge rotor factory — nuclear chief

Updated 25 sec ago
0

Iran builds new centrifuge rotor factory — nuclear chief

  • The factory would have the capacity to build rotors for up to 60 IR-6 centrifuges per day
  • Iran has begun working on infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility

Iran has built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day, the head of its atomic agency said on Wednesday, upping the stakes in a confrontation with Washington over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work.
The announcement came a month after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he had ordered agencies to prepare to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after Washington’s withdrawal from the pact.
Under the terms of the 2015 agreement, which was also signed by Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The other signatories have been scrambling to save the accord, arguing it offers the best way to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb.
Iran has said it will wait to see what the other powers can do, but has signalled it is ready to get its enrichment activities back on track. It has regularly said its nuclear work is just for electricity generation and other peaceful projects.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the new factory did not in itself break the terms of the agreement.
“Instead of building this factory in the next seven or eight years, we built it during the negotiations but did not start it,” Salehi, said, according to state media.
“Of course, the [Supreme Leader] was completely informed and we gave him the necessary information at the time. And now that he has given the order this factory has started all of its work.”
The factory would have the capacity to build rotors for up to 60 IR-6 centrifuges per day, he added.
Last month, Salehi announced that Iran has begun working on infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility.