Qatari foreign minister meets Iranian leaders before Washington trip

Iran's state media denies the meeting in Tehran was aimed at organising direct Iran-US talks

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman meets Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran on January 27, 2022. Reuters
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Qatar's foreign minister visited Tehran for talks with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian and President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday.

The timing of Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman's visit raised speculation that Qatar was seeking to organise dialogue between the US and Iran amid continuing negotiations to revive Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Earlier this week, Iran's leadership signalled that they would be open to direct talks with the US at a later stage.

However, Iranian state news agency Irna said that Qatari foreign minister's visit was not linked to the issue.

“Although Doha and Tehran are experiencing good and close relations, this visit … has fuelled some misconceptions. Some are fabricating it to facilitate direct talks with the United States,” Irna said.

He is scheduled to travel to Washington on Friday before a visit by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani.

The nuclear deal is expected to be among the issues discussed when Sheikh Tamim meets US President Joe Biden on Monday, January 31.

Washington and Tehran have held months of indirect talks to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, which fell apart in 2018 when then Donald Trump, US president at the time, pulled his country out of the pact and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

Updated: January 28, 2022, 5:58 AM