Iran, Qatar agree to increase energy cooperation despite pandemic

Press TV – High-ranking officials from Iran and Qatar have agreed to increase energy cooperation between the two countries despite a current pandemic that has severely affected economies in the Middle East region, the official IRNA news agency says.

Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian and Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari spoke via video conference on Friday to discuss how the two countries can make progress on a series of joint investment and energy projects despite the spread of the new coronavirus in the region.

Ardakanian said during the meeting that the Iranian side had prepared all draft documents that are to be signed in an upcoming meeting of Iran-Qatar Joint Economic Commission. The high-profile meeting had originally been planned for early April in the Iranian central city of Isfahan but it was delayed because of the COVID-19 in Iran.

The two sides agreed to hold the meeting and finalize the documents as soon as the new coronavirus pandemic is under control and the economic situation is back to normal.

However, Ardakanian and Al Kuwari said that video conference sessions will continue in the meantime to allow the two sides to finalize remaining details about joint energy and investment projects.

Iran and Qatar have seen a major boom in their relations in the recent past, especially since several Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region decided to impose an all-out economic blockade on Qatar in June 2017 because of a series of political disputes with Doha.

Qatar has been the only country in the region that has allowed its airlines to keep flying to Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic. That has enabled Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East by the disease, to receive supplies of drugs and medical equipment needed to fight the pandemic.

During their video call, Ardakanian thanked the Qatar Airways for transferring medical aid from other countries and international organizations into Iran.

Al Kuwari, for his part, said that the spread of the COVID-19 in the Middle East had helped create new opportunities in relations between Iran and Qatar.