Saudi-led Qatar blockade brings Iran, Turkey together

However, an informed source at Iran’s Foreign Ministry who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Al-Monitor, “This message was not something new. We have enjoyed good relations with Qatar from before. This meeting and the message were also in line with our policy. In the message, Rouhani had assured the Qatari emir that he could count on Iran for food stuff and using Iran’s airspace for Qatari planes. Rouhani had further stressed that controlling tensions and resolving issues through dialogue would be the best [path forward].”

Qatar itself did not sit idly in the face of the increasing pressures by Saudi Arabia and its allies. Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani made several trips to regional capitals in an effort to gain their support. Regional countries also sent envoys to Qatar and Saudi Arabia in an effort to mediate and solve the dispute.

After meeting with Turkish officials in Ankara, Qatar’s foreign minister traveled to Moscow where he met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on June 10. That meeting ended with Lavrov pointing out that dialogue was the best way to tackle the political rift in the Arab world over Qatar.

On June 15, Erdogan offered to set up a military base in Saudi Arabia, an idea that was rejected by Riyadh on June 17. This is while Tehran and Ankara shipped several tons of food to Qatar every day in an effort to reduce the impact of the sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Russia meanwhile took a very cautious stance regarding the conflict. It should be noted, however, that Russia’s similar viewpoints with Iran regarding the conflict in Syria are a sticking point with Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh’s list of 13 demands as a precondition for the resumption of diplomatic ties with Qatar — which include the closure of Qatari-owned Al Jazeera news network, reducing diplomatic ties with Iran and halting the development of a Turkish military base in the country — have once again brought Iran and Turkey closer together on one front. Meanwhile, on June 25, Erdogan described Saudi Arabia’s list of demands as a violation of international law.

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