How Iran’s influence in Persian Gulf grows amid Saudi rift with Qatar

Sputnik – Tehran seems to be able to get benefits from the Qatar-centered diplomatic row, intelligence firm Soufan Group said.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Iran is emerging as a major beneficiary of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar, supplying food and other goods to the small Persian Gulf nation and increasing engagement with Kuwait and Oman, Gulf nations that are far less hostile toward Tehran, private intelligence firm Soufan Group said in a report on Friday.

“Iran has delivered good exports to Qatar to compensate for Qatar’s reliance on Saudi food supplies that have been cut off,” the report stated. “Iran also has redoubled its efforts to engage not only Qatar but also Kuwait and Oman, in particular by sending several naval vessels on a port visit to Oman after the rift erupted.”

The report also warned that a prolonged dispute between Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council nations would interfere with the seamlessness of US operations in the Gulf, especially a US effort to construct a regional ballistic missile defense system to neutralize Iran’s increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile force.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Yemen severed ties with Qatar, citing the nation’s support for militant Islamist groups such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated organizations including Hamas.

The move followed a visit by President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia, in which the US president broadly focused on efforts to isolate Iran and counter funding for terrorists in the Middle East.