World Qatar FM in Iran just days after US visit
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Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani arrived in Tehran Sunday in an unannounced visit and met top officials, days after visiting Washington, the state news agency reported.
IRNA said that Al-Thani, who is also Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister, met president-elect Ebrahim Raisi and the two discussed bilateral relations.
"Tehran puts special emphasis on relations with Doha," Raisi said, noting that his administration's priority in foreign policy will be relations with neighbours.
Iran accuses US, UK of holding prisoner exchange talks ‘hostage’
Tehran says it wants to agree prisoner exchange but the US and UK are linking it to talks on Iran’s nuclear programme.Deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said Iran is preparing for a transfer of power to the incoming administration of Ebrahim Raisi in early August, and therefore months-long talks in Vienna to restore the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers must wait.
"Be certain that Iran wishes well for its neighbours," he added.
Qatar's top diplomat earlier met Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks focusing on the "latest bilateral developments and important regional and international issues", Iran's foreign ministry said in a statement.
Al-Thani's visit comes after he met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Thursday.
During that meeting, the two reviewed "bilateral cooperation and regional developments, particularly in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Palestine", according to the foreign ministry in Doha.
The Qatari diplomat also emphasised the "need for an open and transparent dialogue between GCC countries and Iran, to achieve stability in the region".
Journalist 'shocked' over Iranian kidnap plot in US
Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad said Wednesday she was shocked by an Iranian plot to kidnap her from her New York home, as Tehran stiffly denied the allegations contained in a US Justice Department indictment. The White House strongly condemned the plot, which came to light late Tuesday when the Justice Department unveiled charges against four Iranian intelligence agents, who had allegedly planned to seize the dissident journalist and smuggle her to Iran. A dual US-Iranian citizen, Alinejad told CNN she was alerted by the FBI eight months ago that she was being watched and that her home was not safe.
Since April, Tehran has been engaged in talks with world powers in Vienna over reviving a 2015 nuclear accord, with Washington taking part indirectly in the negotiations.
The talks aim to return the US to the deal it withdrew from in 2018 under former president Donald Trump by lifting the sanctions reimposed on Tehran, and to have Tehran return to full compliance with nuclear commitments it has gradually retreated from in retaliation for sanctions.
Iran has confirmed that the talks will not resume until the ultraconservative Raisi takes office in August.
Al-Thani had also previously expressed Qatar's readiness to broker talks between Iran and its Arab neighbours in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia.
Raisi has said there are "no obstacles" to restoring ties with Saudi Arabia, a US ally and the Islamic republic's arch-rival in the Middle East.
Tehran and Riyadh have been engaged in talks hosted by Baghdad since April with the aim of improving relations.
Ties between the regional rivals were cut in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions after a revered Shiite cleric was executed in the kingdom.
West faces dilemmas over tanker attack .
A drone attack on a ship off the coast of Oman has worsened already strained ties with Iran.On Thursday 29 July the MV Mercer Street, a medium-sized fuel tanker, was sailing without cargo off the coast of Oman on its way from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania to the UAE refuelling port of Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman. The vessel is Liberian-flagged and Japanese-owned but operated by an Israeli-owned company, Zodiac Maritime.