Zarif seeks to cement Qatar ties

Iranian foreign minister called on Muslims to end the tyranny of Israel’s policies in Jerusalem and described Israelis as “terrorists”.

August 13, 2019 03:09
2 minute read.
Zarif seeks to cement Qatar ties

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after posing for a family photo during the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Coordinating Bureau in Caracas, Venezuela July 20, 2019. (photo credit: MANAURE QUINTERO/REUTERS)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, recently sanctioned by the US, went to Qatar to emphasize close relations between Tehran and Doha and discuss further work in the fields of “politics and economic development,” according to Tasnim News in Iran.

The visit came a day after Zarif sought to incite against Israel on Eid al-Adha. Instead of embracing coexistence, he tweeted a photo he alleged was from the Temple Mount, claiming Israel was perpetrating “crimes” near al-Aqsa Mosque “on our holy day.” He tweeted that “the same terrorists are hoping to impose #humilitationofthecentury on Palestinians,” a reference to the US plan for the “Deal of the Century.”

Iran regularly seeks to portray the US plan as being guided by Israel, a sway to feed conspiracies and anti-Israel views in the West.

“We Muslims have the power to end this tyranny, but only if we unite,” Zarif tweeted, inciting a religious-based view of Israel that was aimed to increase tensions during the holiday.

The foreign minister then went to Qatar, where he said the “military coalitions have already been defeated and foreign forces were providing insecurity in the area.” Qatar hosts a large US military base, and yet the Iranian slammed the US and its allies as spreading insecurity. Iran claimed that only Gulf countries should be involved in security in the region, “not foreign forces,” and claimed Iran would “maintain peace and stability in the region.” According to Tasnim, “Qatar’s foreign minister also expressed satisfaction with the special relations between Iran and Qatar, emphasizing the two countries’ role in peace and stability.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s Press TV said that Turkey is boosting relations with Iran and other reports indicate Iran has signed a new cooperation agreement involving the Caspian Sea. At the same time, an Iranian cleric who is the interim imam of Tehran claimed that the “Zionist regime and Al Saud” are doomed to collapse, a reference to Israel and the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, respectively. He used Eid prayers to also call the UK weak and slam the US. IRNA and Tasnim News Agency reported his comments.

Al Jazeera, which is based in Doha, didn’t even initially report Zarif’s visit in its English website on the morning of August 12. Later, Zarif tweeted that he gave an interview to Al Jazeera. ISNA in Iran also reported the Qatar visit in Farsi, as did Iran’s IRNA on its English page. Zarif was previously in Doha in May when he attended the Asian Cooperation Dialogue events and met Qatar’s emir. Oddly, Lebanese broadcaster Al-Manar and IRNA reported the Asian Cooperation comments Zarif had made months ago as if they happened this week.

The goals of Zarif’s visit to Qatar are to encourage closer relations across the Gulf with the emirate and to drive a wedge among US allies. This is why it is called a “special” relationship in some discussions. The US is at an impasse in this issue because it has close relations with Qatar, has a base there and Qatar has been involved in US-Taliban talks. The US is currently eager to wrap up its 19-year war in Afghanistan. Iran’s comments slamming the US as creating instability and calling for foreign forces to leave, just miles from a US military base, were not immediately met with clear reactions with Doha, which appears to want to try to have closer relations with both Washington and Tehran.

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