Why was this agreement made with the participation of Qatar despite the fact that countries like Iraq and Oman have hosted several rounds of meetings in recent years in support of Iran-US talks?

Finally, after a year of intense talks between Iranian and American officials, the process of implementing the exchange of prisoners and the release of all the blocked Iranian money has begun. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar announced that Qatar played an important role in reaching the prisoner exchange agreement between Iran and the United States. But the question is, to what extent was Qatar’s role in this agreement? In addition, why was this agreement made with the participation of Qatar despite the existence of countries like Iraq and Oman, which have hosted several rounds of negotiations in support of America and Iran in recent years? Years ago, when Qatar announced its readiness to host talks between Iran and the United States, most international experts believed that Qatar had chosen a difficult task for itself. Yet, looking at Qatar’s record in the field of foreign policy, it can be seen that Qatar has the right experiences to host bilateral talks to establish peace. such as mediation between the governments of Djibouti and Eritrea to resolve border disputes. One could name here the mediation between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Palestinian Liberation Movement (Fatah) with the aim of accelerating the process of national reconciliation between them, hosting representatives of the United States and the Taliban; the mediation between Kenya and Somalia; the mediation between the government of Yemen and the Houthis and dozens of other cases all show Qatar’s efforts to resolve international crises.

Regarding Qatar’s mediation between Iran and the United States, it can be said that this country is based on the orders of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of this country, and based on the belief in the necessity of resolving disputes through peaceful and diplomatic ways. The chapter on international disputes made every effort to make the negotiations successful by intensifying the visits of Qatari officials to Washington and Tehran to convey the message and bring the destinations closer. In addition to the international and border interests, all of these actions of Qatar serve their commercial interests. In fact, Qatar has played an important role in controlling many crises around the world with its commercial investments and political influence. On the other hand, the agreement between Iran and the United States shows the confidence of both sides in the country of Qatar as a neutral mediator and a reliable international partner, since Qatar hosts the largest military base of the United States in the Middle East. Moreover, since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, the country’s importance to the West has increased once again, as it is one of the world’s largest producers of liquefied natural gas and thus a potential source of replacement for Russia’s dwindling gas. For Iran, this country is also a reliable ally because at one time the Arab countries surrounded Doha, the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates put forward conditions for Qatar in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, including that Doha reduce its relations with Tehran and to cut off its military and intelligence cooperation with Iran, but Qatar rejected these requests. Since then, this country has become a reliable actor for Iran.

Finally, Iranian and American prisoners will be exchanged in Qatar in the next few weeks. Iran’s blocked currencies are also the first ones converted from South Korean currency (won) to Euros and then sent to an account in Qatar that Iran can access. However, this process will be a bit slow because South Korea is worried that transferring 6 or 7 billion won at once will negatively affect the exchange rate and its economy. The government of dr. Ebrahim Raisi has promised the international community to use the liberalization of foreign exchange resources in order to support internal production.


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About the author:

Amir Mojtahedi

PhD student of International Relations, Shiraz University, Iran. Foreign policy researcher

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