UAE paper: Iran, Qatar expanding ties despite US sanctions

FNA – A leading newspaper in the UAE said Washington is fearful of the growing relations between Iran and Qatar, claiming that Qatar’s all-out support and financial aid to Iran have weakened Washington’s attempts to sanction Tehran.

The Arabic-language al-Ittihad newspaper quoted the US foreign policy experts as saying that the policy-makers in the White House are analyzing Doha’s behavior which indicates that undoubtedly Qatar is showing more tendency towards Iran rather than standing beside Washington.

They added that Iran has made success in persuading Qatar to join the agreements which bypass the US sanctions.

The newspaper also referred to the recent remarks by US analyst Michael Jones.

“Although Qatar has not declared its position to support Iran clearly and officially, the Americans are well aware that Qatar enjoys very close ties with Iran,” Jones said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in early June 2017 over charges that it supports terrorism. They have accordingly imposed a land, sea and air blockade against Qatar thus leaving only a sea and air corridor open with Iran.

This created a rise in Iran’s exports – particularly fruits and vegetables – to Qatar. Iran has also become a corridor for exports of other countries to the blockaded Persian Gulf state.

A customs report said last June that Iran had exported 216.585 tons of goods worth $47.666 million to Qatar from March 21, 2018 to May 21, 2018, showing a considerable growth in terms of value.

“Iran’s export to Qatar increased five-fold times as compared with last year’s corresponding period,” the latest statistics of Iran’s Customs Administration on foreign trade showed.

It noted that the amount of Iran’s exports to Qatar during that period of time compared to the same period last year had been increased by 64 percent and 435 percent in terms of weight and value, respectively.