Abu Dhabi, UAE (CNN)Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates broke off relations with Qatar in the worst diplomatic crisis to hit Gulf Arab states in decades.
Flights suspended, lines at supermarkets
Tensions over Iran
The US offers support
Iran–Qatar relations refer to the bilateral relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the State of Qatar. Iran has an embassy in Doha while Qatar has an embassy in Tehran. Relations between the two countries have been soured after Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran following the January 2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.
Qatar and Iran have close ties. Both are members of OPEC, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Unlike fellow GCC member states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar generally refrains from criticising Iran’s domestic and foreign activities. Qatar has also held several high-level meetings with Iranian officials to discuss security and economic agreements.
The two countries have a close economic relationship, particularly in the oil and gas industries. A big portion of Qatar’s Oil comes from a field that is related to Iran. Iran and Qatar jointly control the world’s largest natural gas field. Their motivation is largely influenced by their economic ties with Iran. The joint ownership of the largest independent gas reservoir’s in the world. Qatar has 13% of the world’s total proven gas reserves. Qatar is producing 650 million cubic meters of gas per day from its section of the field, and Iran is producing 5750 million cubic meters of gas from the field.[dead link] In addition to ties in the oil and natural gas arena, Iran and Qatar also cooperate in the shipping sector.
- 1Bilateral relations
- 2Iran and Qatar Prior and During the Iranian Revolution
- 3Oil and Gas Relations
- 4.11980’s: Iraqi Invasion of Iran
- 4.2December 2008: Concern on Iran Nuclear Power
- 4.3May 2009: South Pars Gas filed
- 4.4December 2010: Military
- 4.5January 2011: Bahrain’s Shia uprising
- 4.6January 2014: Qatar offer’s Iran help with extracting gas
- 4.72016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran
- 5Country comparison
- 6See also
- 8External links
Throughout the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988), Qatar supported Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq financially by providing large loans and cash gifts. Iran’s claim in May 1989 that one-third of Qatar’s North Field gas reservoir lay under Iranian waters apparently was resolved by an agreement to exploit the field jointly.
Qatar has maintained cordial relations with Iran. In 1991, following the end of the Persian Gulf War, former emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa welcomed Iranian participation in Persian Gulf security arrangements, however due to resistance from other Persian Gulf Arab States these never came into fruition. However, Qatar maintains security cooperation with Iran through bilateral ties. Additionally, plans were being formulated in 1992 to pipe water from the Karun River in Iran to Qatar, but after local resistance in Iran this was laid to rest.
In February 2010, during a Q&A session following US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani conceded that if Iran’s programme spurs “a nuclear race in the region, it will be an unhealthy race for all”. Sheikh Jaber also advocated for “direct dialogue between Iran and the United States.”
In May 2010, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Syrian President Bashar al Assad expressed support for Turkish-led efforts to bring about a diplomatic resolution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme. Turkish officials proposed to mediate direct talks between Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Qatar shares a good relation with Iran, both being members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Russia, Qatar, and Iran all control around 50% of the world’s oil reserves. They have made agreements to develop their economic relationship especially within the OPEC. Both countries own the South Pars / North Dome Gas-Condensate field , the world’s largest gas field, having a big influence in the Irani-Qatari relation.
On 11 January 2009, Representatives from the three counties, Qatar, Iran, Russia met in Tehran, agreeing on the production of their gas reserves.
Qatar has a difficult time when it comes to maintaining a good sustainable relationship with Iran, as well as adopting the policies set by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) towards it. They are treading lightly on both sides in pursuance of their own self-interests. However trying to maintain a good relationship with the GCC and Iran has led into tensions.[vague]
On 2 July 2011, the GCC unanimously agreed to have a combined military force, leading to an increase of double the current troops size. “Dr Sami Al-Faraj, stated that the decision was made in order to counter a growing threat from Iran “and its subversive terrorist elements across the GCC”.
On January 2016, Qatar was the last country to back Saudi Arabia by recalling its ambassador from Tehran after the attacks.
Iran and Qatar Prior and During the Iranian Revolution
The large landscape in the Persian Gulf made Iran grow a rising military and economic power, whereas Qatar is small. In the 1970’s Qatar tried not to upset Saudi Arabia by following the OPEC policies, and at the same time not oppose Iran with the Oil prices.[vague]
Leading up to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Qatar and Iran shared a friendly relationship. This was exemplified by the support of the government of Qatar and Sheikh Khalifah for the monarchy of Iran, stating that “Iran is a dear and friendly neighbour with which we are united by the brotherhood of Islam”. The desire to keep up friendly relations was motivated by Iran’s status as a military and economic powerhouse as well as interests with OPEC.
Although there was some apprehension[who?] about the introduction of regional instability after the rise of the Islamic Republic, a delegation of 70 Shia Qatari’s met with Ayatollah Khomeini to express their support for the revolution.
Oil and Gas Relations
North Field and South Pars
The world’s largest natural gas field, called North Field (Qatar) and South Pars (Iran) is between the boundaries of Qatar and Iran. The gas field covers 97,000 square km with the majority (about two-thirds) lying in Qatari waters. Although the field is jointly owned, there is an uneven distribution in natural gas extraction. Namely, Qatar extracts about three times as much natural gas from the field as Iran does and continues to grow its extraction. It is estimated that Qatar’s total income from the field was about $ 37 billion.
Iran’s Natural Gas Expansion Efforts
Iran’s oil minister Rostam Qasemi predicted back in 2012 that Iran would match the extraction levels of Qatar by March 2014 – but his prediction was quite off. In 2013 Iran again made an effort to develop their pace in extracting gas from the field by 2018 under the Rouhani administration. Whether or not this will happen remains to be seen.
Criticism in the Iranian Media
The Iranian print media heavily criticises the uneven distribution of oil and gas extraction from South Par. Their criticisms are both directed at Qatar for the excessive nature of the extraction as well as criticise Iranian officials for their inadequacy in matching Qatar’s extraction numbers and revenues. This has also placed pressure on the Rouhani administration to increase oil extraction in South Pars.
Both Qatar and Iran have maintained friendly relationships despite the disputes about the North Field and South Pars.
1980’s: Iraqi Invasion of Iran
Qatar had to stand behind Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. Qatar along with Oman stayed neutral in this conflict, whereas Saudi Arabia and Kuwait openly supported Iraq financially. Qatar’s strategy was trying not to upset either parties. They were put in uncomfortable situations; In 1983 Iraq attacked Irani Oil fields in the Persian Gulf, threatening plants in the Qatari cost, making Qatar build barriers to not get affected.
As the war ended, Iran sided with Qatar during the dispute with Bahrain over the Fasht a-Dibal Islands. However Qatar has not sided with Iran when it came to the three Islands, Lesser and Greater Tunbs and Abu Musa, instead the sided with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Qatar saw that the relationship with the GCC is strategically more important than having a small dispute with Iran.
December 2008: Concern on Iran Nuclear Power
The five members of the UN council, and Germany held a meeting with the eight Arab nations. (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt). Iran’s nuclear weapons were considered as a threat to the whole MENA region which is why the meeting held place.
In response to the nuclear powers, the GCC (including Qatar) are set to spend $ 122 Billion on weapons over the next decade. 
May 2009: South Pars Gas filed
Iran and Qatar both own the South Pars / North Dome Gas-Condensate field. Iran agreed that they would issue $ 100 million in bonds to build and improve the gas field.
December 2010: Military
An officer in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), met with the commander of the Qatari army, stating that “IRGC and Qatar’s navy can have close cooperation in intelligence, security and training fields”. Hamad Bin Ali al-Attiyah met with the navy forces of Iran and stated that Qatar is ready to have joint military exercises with Iran. 
January 2011: Bahrain’s Shia uprising
Qatar was one of the few GCC countries that stopped criticising Iran’s alleged “interference” in Bahrain. They held economic agreements during that period of time. Qatari did not officially state they support Iran with its alleged interference, however they did not criticise them for alleged interfering. Iran denies any interfering in Bahrain.
January 2014: Qatar offer’s Iran help with extracting gas
Qatar offered Iran to help extract its side of South Spars, the world’s biggest gas field. This would not only maximise Iran’s rewards but also Qatar’s. Iran requested Qatar’s help, and they responded willingly, fearing sloppy work by Iranian firms would damage the gas field and affect Qatar revenues too.
A Qatari government official said , “There has been a lot of drilling activity in that area and we have many studies on the field that I’m sure can benefit Iran”. Too much drilling activity done by Iran might affect Qatar, as that might damage the fields. 
2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran
Qatar has recently condemned the attacks and has decided to recall its ambassador from Tehran while the Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry issuing a protest statement at the Iranian embassy in Doha saying that it constitutes a violation of the international charters and norms that emphasise the protection of diplomatic missions and their staff.
|Area||11,437 km2 (4,468 sq mi)||1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi)|
|Population Density||201/km2 (522/sq mi)||50/km2 (129/sq mi)|
|First Leader||Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani||Ayatollah Khomeini|
|Current Leader||Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani (Emir)||Ali Khamenei (Supreme Leader)
Hassan Rohani (President)
|Main religions||100% Islam, Sunni Muslims 90% & Shia Muslims 10%||98% Islam, Shia Muslims 90% & Sunni Muslims 8%, 2% other|
|GDP (nominal)||US$ 164.641 billion||US$ 425.326 billion|
|Currency||Qatari Rial (QR)||Iranian Rial (IIR)|
- Fulton, Will; Farrar-Wellman, Ariel (July 22, 2011). “Qatar-Iran Foreign Relations”. AEI Iran Tracker. American Enterprise Institute. Archived from the original on December 10, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016. Invalid
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