Food, fuel and flights: How Qatar may suffer 01:18

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.

The three Gulf countries and Egypt accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. Qatar — which shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia — has rejected the accusations, calling them “unjustified” and “baseless.” Yemen and the Maldives also cut ties with Qatar.
Qatari citizens have been told they have 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE, and those countries also banned their own citizens from entering Qatar.

Key developments:

— Qataris gave 14 days to leave the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi
— Qatar ejected from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen over alleged support of ISIS and al-Qaeda, according to Saudi state media
— Yemen and Maldives governments also cut ties with Qatar
— Emirates airline says it’s suspending all flights to and from Doha starting Tuesday morning
— Kuwait, Oman only Gulf Cooperation Council members remaining with ties to Qatar.
— Iran blames tensions on Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia
— Saudi Arabia said it closed Al-Jazeera office in Kingdom
— Turkey calls for dialogue to resolve the rift
Saudi Arabia’s state news agency announced the cutting of ties Monday, saying it was seeking to “protect national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”
All ports of entry between the two countries will be closed, according to the statement.
Gulf allies have repeatedly criticized Qatar for alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood, a nearly 100-year-old Islamist group considered a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The UAE accused Qatar of “funding and hosting” the group in its statement announcing the severance of ties.
It also cited Qatar’s “ongoing policies that rattle the security and sovereignty of the region as well as its manipulation and evasion of its commitments and treaties” as the reason for its actions.
Saudi Arabia accused Qatar in its statement of “adopting” groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar denies that it funds or supports extremist groups.
However, the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels also expelled Qatar from its alliance, alleging support of “al Qaeda and Daesh [also known as ISIS], as well as dealing with the rebel militias,” according to Saudi’s state media agency.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar form a close regional alliance known as the Gulf Cooperation Council, established in 1981. After Monday’s development, only Kuwait and Oman have ties with Qatar. The Emir of Kuwait urged Qatar’s Emir to exercise “self-restraint and refrain from steps that would escalate the situation,” according to Kuwait’s news agency, KUNA.
As the crisis deepened in the region, Bahrain’s foreign ministry said it was suspending diplomatic relations “in order to preserve its national security,” according to  a statement.
Qatari diplomats had 48 hours to leave and airspace and ports between the countries would be closed within 24 hours of Bahrain’s announcement, it said. Bahrain said its decision was based on what it said was Qatar’s destabilizing actions.
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that Qatar diplomats had 48 hours to leave the country.

Flights suspended, lines at supermarkets

Dubai-based airline Emirates said it is suspending all flights to and from Doha, the capital of Qatar, starting Tuesday; Emirates said it was instructed to do so by the UAE government.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways will also suspend its Doha flights on Wednesday. Other airways in the countries involved are expected to follow suit.

Qatar residents rushed to supermarkets following news the country's only land border was being closed.

There were reports of long lines at supermarkets in Qatar on Monday as people stocked up on food after news that Saudi Arabia was closing the country’s only land border.
Shalom Pinto shared pictures with CNN from Lulu Hypermarket in Doha and said her usual two-minute wait at the checkout line was 30 minutes amid the rush.

Tensions over Iran

The news comes two weeks after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt blocked several Qatari media outlets — including Al Jazeera — over comments allegedly made by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Hamad Al Thani. Al Thani reportedly hailed Iran as an “Islamic power” and criticized US President Donald Trump’s policy towards Tehran.
The Emir’s alleged comments appeared on Qatar’s official news agency, but Qatar said the website  was hacked, the report fabricated by the culprits.
Saudi Arabia on Monday announced on its state news Twitter account that the Ministry of Culture and Information closed the Al-Jazeera office in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are at odds over a number of regional issues, including Iran’s nuclear program and what Saudis see as Tehran’s growing influence in the kingdom’s sphere of influence — especially in Syria, Lebanon, and neighboring Yemen.

Comments about Iran attributed to the Emir of Qatar recently caused Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to block Qatari media outlets.

“There are two competing theories,” Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, said about the origin of the spat.
“One is that Saudi Arabia felt emboldened after Donald Trump’s visit, and Trump’s administration has had a strong stance on Iran, which is backed by Qatar.
“Another theory is that this is a product of a month’s tension, all brought to a breaking point after the Qatar news agency hacking story.”
Trump recently visited the Saudi capital and addressed 55 Muslim leaders in a landmark speech urging them to increase efforts to combat terrorism.
Iran’s state news agency, the Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA, blamed tensions on the US President’s visit.
“The first impression of the US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region is the recent tension in the countries’ relations,” said the chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi.
“Neighbors are permanent; geography can’t be changed,”  tweeted Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “Coercion is never the solution. Dialogue is imperative, especially during blessed Ramadan.”
He made reference to the current holy Muslim month of Ramadan, a period of fasting and contemplation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed over the phone the Qatar developments and called on all interested countries to engage in dialogue, the Kremlin said Monday. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed “sorrow” at the decision of countries to cut ties with Qatar and asked for a peaceful solution to the diplomatic rift, the country’s state news agency Anadolu reported.
Cavusoglu said the nation is ready to help bring the disputes to a manageable level.
“Dialogue should be continued under all circumstances so the existing problems can be solved in a peaceful way,” he said, according to Anadolu.
The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation called on Qatar to abide by its previous agreements signed under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council, particularly those relating to stopping the support of terrorist groups and their activities and media incitement.

The US offers support

Speaking from Australia, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the respective countries to work out their differences and offered US assistance to do so.
“We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences. And if there is any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC remain unified,” Tillerson said.

US President Donald Trump met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during his visit to Riyadh last month.

The US’  biggest concentration of military personnel in the Middle East is located at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base. The sprawling base 20 miles southwest of Doha is home to some 11,000 US military personnel.
Qatar is due to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but FIFA declined requests for comment on whether the tournament will be affected.

Iran–Qatar relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Iran-Qatar relations
Map indicating locations of Iran and Qatar



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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3][dead link][4] In addition to ties in the oil and natural gas arena, Iran and Qatar also cooperate in the shipping sector.[1]

The Iranian community in Qatar, although large, is well integrated and has not posed a threat to the Iranian government. It accounts for some 30,000 people of the Iranian diaspora worldwide.

Bilateral relations[edit]

During Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi‘s regime in 1969, Iran and Qatar signed a demarcation agreement.[5]

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.”[6]

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.[7]


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.[8] 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.[9]


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][citation needed]

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”.[10]

On January 2016, Qatar was the last country to back Saudi Arabia by recalling its ambassador from Tehran after the attacks.[11]

Iran and Qatar Prior and During the Iranian Revolution[edit]

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”.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Oil and Gas Relations[edit]

North Field and South Pars[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Iran’s Natural Gas Expansion Efforts[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Maintaining Relations[edit]

Both Qatar and Iran have maintained friendly relationships despite the disputes about the North Field and South Pars.


1980’s: Iraqi Invasion of Iran[edit]

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[edit]

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. [12]

May 2009: South Pars Gas filed[edit]

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[edit]

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. [13]

January 2011: Bahrain’s Shia uprising[edit]

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[edit]

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. [14]

2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran[edit]

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.[15]

Country comparison[edit]

  Flag of Qatar.svg Qatar Flag of Iran.svg Iran
Population 2,235,000 79,110,000
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)
Capital Doha Tehran
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)
Official languages Arabic Persian
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)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b 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 |dead-url= (help)
  2. Jump up^ “Factbox: Qatar, Iran share world’s biggest gas field”. Reuters. July 26, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  3. Jump up^ Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  4. Jump up^ “آیا ایران در برداشت از پارس جنوبی به قطر رسیده است؟”. BBC Persian. 2017-04-16. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  5. Jump up^ Mokhtari, Fariborz (Spring 2005). “No One Will Scratch My Back: Iranian Security Perceptions in Historical Context” (PDF). The Middle East Journal. 59 (2). Retrieved 1 November 2016.[permanent dead link]
  6. Jump up^ “Remarks With Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani After Their Meeting”. US Department of State. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  7. Jump up^ “Turkey says Syria, Qatar back Iran plan”. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  8. Jump up^ Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  9. Jump up^ Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  10. Jump up^“. External link in |title= (help);
  11. Jump up^“. External link in |title= (help);
  12. Jump up^ “World powers, Arabs share concern on Iran nuclear program”. External link in |website= (help);
  13. Jump up^ “Qatar- Iran foreign relations”. External link in |website= (help);
  14. Jump up^ “Qatar offers to help Iran get out its gas”. Iran Times. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  15. Jump up^

External links[edit]



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