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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs