Doha: Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani will visit Tehran, the government said Sunday, amid soaring tensions following the US killing of an Iranian commander and retaliatory strikes.
Qatar has strong ties with Tehran, with whom it shares the world’s largest gas field.
Shaikh Tamim will meet with President Hassan Rouhani and other top Iranian leaders, Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera reported.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani reportedly called for a peaceful solution that would lead to de-escalation during a visit to Tehran in the immediate aftermath of the US strike on January 3.
“Yes it’s confirmed,” an official at Qatar’s Government Communications Office said, adding Shaikh Tamim would fly to Iran for what is believed to be his first official visit to the Islamic republic, following a stop in Oman.
Shaikh Tamim left Doha for Muscat on Sunday morning “to offer condolences on the death of Sultan Qaboos”, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.
The visit follows the US killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike near Baghdad’s airport, and Iran’s admission that it shot down an airliner near Tehran by mistake on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.
Iran retaliated against the US for Soleimani’s death by firing missiles at American assets in Iraq, which US President Donald Trump said caused no casualties.
Qatar’s relationship with Shiite-dominated Iran, seen as the major rival to Saudi Arabia in the region, is one of the major factors for its boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt since 2017. The Quartet also accuses Doha of backing extremism and being too close to Iran.