West News Wire: Ebrahim Raisi, the president of Iran, has arrived in Qatar for high-level talks with Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and to attend the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

During his two-day visit, Raisi will be accompanied by numerous ministers and is scheduled to sign various agreements aimed at strengthening bilateral ties.

“We see this visit as a step toward reactivating diplomacy with neighbours, particularly those in the Persian Gulf, and utilizing their capacities to strengthen political and economic ties,” Raisi said before leaving Tehran for Doha early Monday.

According to Iran’s roads and transport minister, Rostam Ghasemi, four agreements will be signed between the two countries. The most important among them is an agreement on a plan to connect Iran and Qatar via an underwater tunnel, Ghemi told state television.

Two of the other agreements deal with shipping and boosting maritime trade while the fourth one relates to improving air travel between the two countries.

On Tuesday, Raisi is also expected to represent Iran at the GECF summit. Iran holds the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves in the world.

The visit comes as Iran and the world powers party to its 2015 nuclear deal are saying that long-running talks in Vienna to restore the deal unilaterally abandoned by the United States in 2018 are in the final stretch.

If successful, the talks could herald Iran’s full return to the global energy market as it could once more sell its oil and derivatives unhindered by US sanctions.

Qatar has strongly supported the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is formally known, as a move that will bolster regional and international security.

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Qatar has also at times been relaying messages and acting as a link between Iran and the US as Tehran continues to refuse to speak directly with Washington due to its reneging on the landmark accord.

Iran and Qatar have enjoyed significantly closer relations since 2017 when several other Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a blockade on it.

Both sides have maintained those relations since early 2021 when the blockade was lifted and diplomatic relations were restored.

The Iranian president stated, “The first goal is to establish bilateral relations with Qatar as a friendly and fraternal neighboring country, and the second goal is to participate in the GECF summit.”

The Iranian president then mentioned the country’s joint gas field with Qatar, saying that the two countries have a lot of cooperation in this area and that they should take major steps to improve their business and energy connections.

Raeisi went on to say that Iran is a founding member of the GECF and that the forum was established on its proposal, noting that the Iran, along with Qatar and Russia, is one of the world’s top three gas exporters.

The Iranian president also expressed the hope that the visit will help to strengthen political, economic, and trade ties with regional countries, particularly those in the Persian Gulf.

Top Iranian and Qatari officials will have talks during his two-day visit, and the two countries will sign a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

Raeisi will speak at the GECF’s Sixth Summit in Doha on Tuesday.

On the margins of the event, he is expected to conduct conversations with the presidents of the participating countries.

 

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