Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (left) during a meeting with Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha on June 20, 2023

Iranian FM’s Visit To Qatar, Oman Seen As Indirect Talks With US

Tuesday, 06/20/2023

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met Qatar’s Emir in Doha on Tuesday in what may be related to reported indirect talks with the United States.

Amir-Abdollahian who arrived in Qatar Monday evening is accompanied by a delegation and will also visit Oman, another friendly regional country that has been a traditional mediator between Tehran and Washington.

Iranian government media had little to say about the foreign minister’s trip early on Tuesday, simply reporting on the meeting with the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and saying that discussing international, regional and bilateral issues were the purpose of his visit to Qatar.

In recent weeks, both Iran and the United States have indicated that they are in indirect contact, although several media reports since January have also described direct talks between the US special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley and Iran’s ambassador at the United Nations, Saeed Iravani.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his delegation during a meeting with Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha on June 20, 2023

Israeli media and officials insist that already a limited agreement or a “mini-deal” has been worked out between Washington and Tehran aimed at stopping further Iranian uranium enrichment in exchange for US agreement to allow third countries to unfreeze Iranian funds and limited sanctions relief.

The US has denied these reports describing them as “inaccurate” or false, but earlier this month the Biden administration allowed Iraq to release more than $2.7 billion of money it owed to Iran for importing energy.

Although the administration insisted that the funds are earmarked for Iran to import food and medicines, the whole scheme is shrouded in mystery and it is not clear if Tehran would actually get its hands on cash US dollars, something Washington has tried to prevent since 2018 when it imposed economic sanctions.

Critics argue that any transfer of cash to the Iranian regime will bolster its ability to foment instability in the region. Some say that even financing its humanitarian needs will free up government funds for its military and proxy forces in the region.

The regime has been hosting leaders of Palestinian militant groups in Tehran and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei held a meeting with them.

Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement Ziad al-Nakhaleh (3rd from right) meets with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran on June 14, 2023.

Ziyad al-Nakhalah, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), has been in Iran since last week, culminating in the arrival of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Tehran on Monday.

The groups, both designated terrorist outfits by the European Union, the US, the UK, Canada, and Israel, have been receiving financial support from the Islamic Republic, presumably for wreaking havoc in Israel, or what the regime calls “resistance.”

Amir-Abdollahian’s trip to Qatar and Oman followed the visit of Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan to Tehran over the weekend after the two countries agreed to re-establish diplomatic ties in March after seven years of bitter animosity.

Although the détente with Saudi Arabia heralded an end to Iran’s isolation in the region, Riyadh has expectations from Tehran, the most important of which is security in the Persian Gulf region and an end to hostilities in Yemen.

"I would like to refer to the importance of cooperation between the two countries on regional security, especially the security of maritime navigation... and the importance of cooperation among all regional countries to ensure that it is free of weapons of mass destruction," Prince Faisal said during a press conference in Tehran.

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