Emir of Qatar wants to leave GCC: Iranian diplomat

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Iran’s former ambassador to Qatar Abdullah Suhrabi has said that Qatar wants to leave the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In an interview to the Iranian newspaper Jaam-e Jam, he said: “The information we have received from Qatar indicates that the Prince (now Emir) wanted to withdraw from the GCC since the onset of the Gulf crisis, but he had deferred the move on the advice of his counsellors”.

Suhrabi also claimed that Doha has been trying to restore relations with Iran for over eight years and that early last year it reluctantly followed Saudi Arabia’s cue in calling back its ambassador from Tehran.

He pointed out that when Doha took over the presidency of the GCC in 2007, it had invited former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Gulf summit, despite opposition from other member states.

Suhrabi stressed that Iran had decided to re-open Qatar’s embassy in Tehran “to stabilize its national security”. The diplomat averred that the areas Doha and Tehran are working together relate to the strengthening of Qatar’s economy and the settling of its problems.

Meanwhile, Qatari ambassador Ali bin Ahmed Ali al-Sulaiti started his work in Tehran on Saturday. Iranian agencies released pictures of the Qatari ambassador presenting his credentials to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The Iranian media has dubbed the Qatari move as a “new victory” for Iran against the “Arab confederacy,” and sees it as a “chink in the Arab front”.

According to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasimi, it was Qatar that had requested Iran to accept the return of its ambassador to Tehran in a telephone conversation between the foreign ministers last Tuesday.

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