“We still believe this should happen,” Thani said, adding that it “is also a desire that’s shared by other GCC countries.”
His remarks come as President-elect Joe Biden, a proponent of diplomacy with Iran, is set to assume office and is widely expected to recalibrate the U.S. approach to Iran. Biden has expressed support for the nuclear deal that Tehran struck with six world powers, including the United States, in 2015, and he has derided the Trump administration’s policies toward Iran — including withdrawal from the nuclear pact — as a “dangerous failure.”
Speaking of the possibility that the United States would reengage with Iran and rejoin the nuclear deal, Thani said: “We hope they are going to reach a solution.”
“That will help between the GCC and Iran,” he added. “Everything is interconnected at the end of the day.”
After a rift that had festered for more than three years, Qatar restored ties with Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies this month as part of an agreement brokered by Kuwait and the United States. Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, had sought to isolate Qatar, in part for its cordial relations with Iran, by imposing a land, sea and air blockade and breaking off diplomatic ties.
Qatar’s desire to cool tensions between Iran and its gulf neighbors faced several obstacles. Iran’s relations with several countries — Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, in particular — reached a nadir over the past five years. Saudi Arabia halted diplomatic relations with Iran in 2016, after Iranian protesters angered at the kingdom’s execution of a Shiite cleric sacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.
Saudi Arabia has also protested Tehran’s support for a rebel group in Yemen that has carried out attacks on the kingdom, using weapons that Saudi Arabia and the United States say originated in Iran. Over the years, Iran and its adversaries have repeatedly accused each other of meddling in domestic affairs.
Beyond that bitter history, the GCC has often struggled to agree on a common approach to external challenges. Apart from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, several of the bloc’s members have preferred to maintain friendly ties with Tehran.
The GCC has been “more successful with what I would call its collective common market, rather than its political alignment,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, said during an online briefing with reporters this month.
In the past, the bloc “has not been in total agreement on how to address these issues, including Iran,” Gargash said. The UAE believes that “serious issues” between the gulf states and Iran should be dealt with “through de-escalation and through diplomacy,” he added.
Kareem Fahim contributed to this report.