News / Middle East

    Iran Signs Cooperation Pact with Gulf Neighbor Qatar

    Iran Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was in Qatar to sign what Tehran says is a defense cooperation accord with its smaller neighbor.  Qatar also houses a major U.S. military base, as the small Gulf state plays a delicate balancing act between east and west.

    It was a small ceremony, and both delegations clapped hands, as Iran's defense minister and Qatar's military chief of staff signed what was called a joint defense agreement.  It was an unusual ceremony, since Iran has been at odds with the West over its nuclear program, and Qatar houses a major US military base.

    Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who rarely travels abroad, attended the signing ceremony in Doha.

    He says Iran and Qatar share mutually positive relations in all fields, and especially in important regional defense issues.  He said they saw eye to eye after extensive consultations and that constructive cooperation between both countries was among the chief reasons for strengthening ties.  He added Iran and Qatar's good relations are an example for other states in the region.

    Iran's official Fars News Agency referred to the agreement as a "defense pact" that included "the exchange of technical experts and a widening of cooperation in training and campaigns against terrorism."

    Vahidi's visit to Qatar coincided with a visit to Iran by a Qatari delegation pursuing expanded cooperation oil and gas production.

    Alex Vatanka of Janes Defense Analyst says Tehran is hoping to show its smaller Sunni Arab Gulf neighbors that it has no ill-will towards them.

    "The Iranians are saying, at the end of the day, we have no issues with our neighbors, we do not have any problems with Sunni Arab states," said Alex Vatanka. "It is just America making things up.  This is everything Khamenei has been saying since he came down the other day to the Persian Gulf port of Bander Abbas for the launch of the Destroyer Jamaran, and they would point to these practical steps like the visit of Vahidi to Qatar or [Qatar's ruler] Sheikh Thani's visit to Tehran recently, and say: 'Look, these people are visiting us, these people are receiving our delegations, which proves that we have no problems with Arabs."

    Vatanka says Qatar has not really agreed to anything concrete with the Iranians, other than a promise to cooperate and exchange delegations.  But he says Qatar needs good relations with Tehran:

    "Qataris, from their point of view, have always had very sour relations with Saudi Arabia, so for them having cordial ties with Iran makes a lot of sense," he said. "A tiny country of about 300,000 people which has one economic asset that it relies on, the North Field, the largest natural gas field in the world, and it shares it with its giant neighbor to the north.  It cannot jeopardize relations with Iran over that oil field."
     
    Despite Iran's repeated insistence over having good relations with its Gulf neighbors, Tehran has had a long-standing dispute with the United Arab Emirates over three small islands, which Iran now occupies militarily.  Sunni Arab Gulf states have also complained Tehran creates problems for them by stirring up large Shi'ite minorities in Bahrein, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.   

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora