Qatar speaks out against tightening Iran sanctions

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Qatar has spoken out against Washington’s decision to block all exports of Iranian oil, saying unilateral sanctions were “unwise because they hurt the countries that rely on the supplies.”

US oil sanctions are intended as punishment for Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its support of armed militant groups in the Middle East. The Trump administration has demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face the prospect of sanctions, ending six months of waivers that had allowed Iran’s eight biggest customers, mostly in Asia, to import limited volumes.

Qatar has strong ties with Iran, and recently condemned the US’s move to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group.

“The sanctions should not be extended because they have an adverse impact on countries benefiting from Iranian oil,” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Wednesday.

“In Qatar, we do not believe unilateral sanctions bring positive effects for crises which must be solved through dialogue and dialogue only,” he told a news conference following a meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue in Qatar’s capital Doha, which was attended by his Iranian counterpart.

Qatar is at odds with other Gulf Arab states - who are strongly in favor of tighter US sanctions on Iran - chiefly due to its support for terrorist organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood.

The White House has said it is working with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure oil markets, which have already tightened this year due to supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), were “adequately supplied.”

Qatar, which despite its large gas exports sells comparatively little oil, quit OPEC in December.

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