US President Joe Biden thanked Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Tuesday for Doha’s help securing the release of five Americans detained in Iran, according to the Qatari News Agency (QNA).
The QNA said the two leaders also discussed strategic ties and ways to bolster them “in a range of fields.”
Biden praised Qatar’s “constructive role” in facilitating the deal between Washington and Tehran.
Last month, five Americans were freed from Iran in exchange for releasing five Iranians from US custody and unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian funds abroad. Those funds were transferred from South Korea to Qatar, where Iran will reportedly only be able to use them for humanitarian purposes.
QNA cited Qatar’s emir as reiterating his belief in the “importance of dialogue as the only way to resolve differences and establish peace.”
Qatar’s commitment to its role as a “reliable international mediator” is not limited by its geographic location, the Qatari emir said.
Doha has been actively trying to revive talks between the US and Iran to reach a deal that would limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its ability to potentially develop a nuclear weapon.
The US designated Qatar as a major non-NATO ally last year, months after Biden promised to do so. Major non-NATO partners are provided with certain defense, trade and security benefits with the US, but there are no security commitments to these countries.
Other major non-NATO allies include Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Tunisia.
And in November, the State Department approved the sale of sophisticated anti-drone systems to Qatar in a deal worth $1 billion. Qatar had requested to buy 10 Fixed Site-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System (FS-LIDS), according to the Pentagon.