Iran’s says Qatari foreign minister’s remarks over Tehran's openness to a nuclear compromise have been wrongly interpreted and attributed to the Supreme Leader.
Speaking to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)-linked Tasnim news agency Saturday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the Al Jazeera report on the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani’s remarks have been misrepresented by some media outlets “by design”.
Citing Al Jazeera television, some Persian language media claimed Saturday that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has shown willingness to make a compromise in the nuclear issue.
Qatar's foreign minister, Foreign Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, said on Saturday in remarks cited by al Jazeera TV that the Iranian leadership expressed readiness for a compromise regarding "the Iranian nuclear file” during the May 12 visit of Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani s, to Tehran and his meetings with Iranian officials including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“The Iranian leadership told us they were ready for a compromise,” the Qatari-based TV quoted the Qatari foreign minister as saying.
Khatibzadeh said the Qatari foreign minister’s reference was to Iranian officials, not the Supreme Leader, and that Persian-language media used a translation of the word ‘compromise’ to suggest concessions rather than settlement of disagreements.
Qatar's foreign minister, Foreign Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani
“The esteemed Leader of the Revolution never spoke of any compromise over the issue [in his meeting with the Qatari Emir],” Khatibzadeh said and quoted Khamenei as saying to the Qatari Emir that he has always said negotiations to restore the deal must be “result-oriented” and not “wasting time”. “The Americans know what they should do towards this end,” he quoted Khamenei as saying in the meeting.
"It is clear from the context of the Leader's remarks that [he was saying] that the ball is in the court of the United States, which must make a wise political decision to fulfil its obligations [under the 2015 nuclear deal]," Khatibzadeh said.
Al Jazeera also quoted Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani as saying that reaching common ground on the Iranian nuclear issue will boost stability in the Persian Gulf region and help oil markets. "Pumping additional quantities of Iranian oil to the market [if a deal is reached and sanctions on Iran are lifted] will help stabilize crude prices and reduce inflation," the minister said.
Iran’s crude oil exports have been under US sanctions since May 2018 when former President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
On Friday, Qatar’s Emir expressed optimism that an agreement between Washington and Tehran was achievable and said his country was prepared to help broker a deal.
Talks in Vienna to restore the JCPOA have stalled since mid-March. Major issues reportedly include Washington’s refusal to delist Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) which the Trump administration designated as a ‘foreign terrorist organization’. Iran also insists on avenging the US killing of IRGC’s Qods Force Commander Ghasem (Qasem) Soleimani who was killed in Baghdad in 2020 in a US targeted drone attack.
In recent weeks, regional countries including Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait, which have good relations with Washington, have reportedly tried to mediate between Tehran and Washington. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi is expected to hold behind the scenes talks with Omani officials over the issue during his visit to Muscat Monday.
The EU Foreign Policy Chief Josef Borrell Saturday held a phone call with Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, over the latest developments in the talks. After the phone call, Borrel warned in a tweet that the longer the talks in Vienna take, the more difficult it will be to conclude the negotiations.