Qatar in nudge at Saudis stakes out neutrality on Iran

by WorldTribune Staff, June 4, 2018

Though it has “a lot of differences” with Iran, Qatar will not “fuel a war” with the Islamic Republic, Qatar’s defense minister said.

Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah

“Is it wise to call the U.S. and Israel to go and fight Iran? Iran is next door,” Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah told an international security conference in Singapore on June 3.

“If any third party is trying to push the region or some country in the region to start a war with Iran, this will be very dangerous,” al-Attiyah was quoted by AFP as having told the Shangri-La Dialogue.

The minister’s comments suggested he was referring to Saudi Arabia, which has led a year-long blockade against Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt all severed relations with Qatar last June over allegations that it supports terrorism. Qatar denies the charges.

The nations later placed dozens of figures linked to Qatar on blacklists, including Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the spiritual leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Responding to a question on whether Qatar’s air bases could be used to launch strikes against Iran, al-Attiyah said Doha was “not a fan of war,” and called instead for dialogue.

“We should call Iran, put all the files on the table, and discuss to bring peace, (rather) than war,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on June 4 warned of a harsh response if Teheran is attacked.

“Teheran will attack 10 times more if attacked by enemies… The enemies don’t want an independent Iran in the region… We will continue our support to oppressed nations… our enemies have staged economic and psychological warfare against us and new American sanctions are part of it,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state TV.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman recently said “Israel can not afford to ignore Iran’s threats, including its promise to destroy Israel.

“The threats from Teheran come week after week. They do not need excuses for that,” Liberman added.

Khamenei has in the past referred to the Jewish state as a “cancer” and threatened to “annihilate” the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.

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