London: The Trump administration has called on Qatar to stop funding pro-Iranian militias, following revelations about the Gulf state’s dealings with terror groups in the Middle East.
US security officials have expressed concern about Qatar’s links to a number of Iranian-sponsored militias, many regarded as terrorist organisations by Washington.
It follows the disclosure of emails said to be from senior officials in the Qatari government to leading members of groups such as Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militia that operates in southern Lebanon, as well as senior commanders in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
The emails, transcripts of which have been seen by The Sunday Telegraph, show that senior members of the Qatari government are on friendly terms with key figures in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard such as Qassem Sulaimani, the influential head of the Iranian Quds Force, and Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah.
Details show that Doha paid up to a billion dollars to secure the release of hostages held by Shiite militias in southern Iraq. A US spokesman said: “We do not believe it is helpful that Qatar continues to have ties with such organisations.” Following the US president’s decision last week to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran, the administration is now calling on Qatar to review its relations with Iran and terrorist groups.
Qatar said it opened communications with Iran and terror organisations to secure the release of members of the Qatari royal family kidnapped while on a hunting expedition in Iraq.