Qatar's top diplomat in Teheran for talks with Iran's foreign minister

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) receiving his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on July 25, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

TEHERAN (BLOOMBERG) - Qatar's Foreign Minister travelled to Iran for unpublicised talks, having earlier offered to broker dialogue between the Islamic Republic and its Arab neighbours in the Gulf, including regional rival Saudi Arabia.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on Sunday (July 25) met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif just days after meetings in Washington, where the Biden administration is seeking to shift away from the confrontations of the Trump years.

The United States has been in negotiations with Teheran to rejoin the international nuclear accord that former president Donald Trump quit, though talks are now on hold until after the Islamic Republic's hardline President-elect Ebrahim Raisi takes office early next month.

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif and Qatar's Mr al-Thani were to discuss Iran-Qatar ties and "the most important regional and international issues", according to a statement from Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs that gave no further details.

In January, Mr al-Thani told Bloomberg TV that Qatar was ready to broker talks between Iran and its Arab neighbours in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, in order to end the crisis triggered by the unravelling of the nuclear accord.

An unsourced report in Iran's reformist Etemad newspaper last Friday said Teheran and Riyadh will soon formally re-establish ties and that Saudi Arabia plans to send a representative to Mr Raisi's inauguration next month.

Saudi Arabia broke off ties with Iran in 2016 over Riyadh's execution of a revered Shiite Muslim cleric, which provoked an attack on the kingdom's embassy in Teheran.

The sides are engaged in various proxy wars across the region, and Riyadh opposes efforts to revive the nuclear pact.

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