Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, who arrived in Tehran Thursday met with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi.
An informed source told Reuters on Sunday that the Emir would focus on how to “bridge the gap” in the talk aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which have been in limbo since mid-March.
The Qatari Emir's visit coincided with the presence of EU coordinator of the nuclear talks, Enrique Mora, in Tehran.
Most of Iran's official and semi-official media on Thursday downplayed or completely excluded any mention of possible mediation in the nuclear talks by the Emir and instead focused on reporting the Iranian leader and president's remarks about regional issues and Israel.
However, in a commentary Wednesday, the IRGC-linked Fars news agencydrew attention to the Qatari Emir's and Mora's visits coinciding and also mentioned the visit of a second European official, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, to Tehran this week.
"Sheikh Tamim wants to play the role of a mediator between the Islamic Republic and the United States, a role previously entrusted to the Omani king … Russians have also lost the position of mediation between Iran and the United States in the Vienna [talks] after the Ukraine war," Fars wrote. "There is evidence that the common factor in the three visits is energy," Fars also said, surmising that this was because Europe is now after Iranian and Qatari gas to replace supplies from Russia.
Iran made a last-minute demand, when all sides said technical matters have been resolved and a deal was imminent, for the removal of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) to which the US has not consented.
During his meeting with the Emir, Khamenei emphasized that regional problems can be solved through dialogue among regional countries without any interference of “foreign players.”
“The issues of Yemen and Syria can also be solved through dialogue," he said, adding that "dialogue should not be undertaken from a weak position at a time that the opposite parties, mostly America and others, rely on military and financial power.”
Apparently referring to normalization of relations between Israel and regional Arab countries, Khamenei said regional countries should boost relations with each other as much as possible, because Israel "foments corruption wherever it goes".
In the case of what he called Israeli attacks on the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, Khamenei alleged, some Arab countries had offered even less support to Palestinians than some European countries. "Even now, they are still acting like that.”
Arab countries must know that the Israeli regime in not in a strong position to be feared or be relied on, he claimed. The Qatari Emir also condemned the attacks in the meeting and said all regional countries must confront Israeli crimes.
The joint press conference of the Iranian President and the Qatari Emir was also largely focused on regional issues, the Palestine-Israel issue, and the recent killing of an Al Jazeera reporter in Jenin by Israeli forces.
“The existing problems in the region must be settled through constructive dialogue,” Sheikh Tamim told reporters, adding that Tehran and Doha had also discussed the ongoing situation in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.