Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani meets with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, in Doha, Qatar, 21 February, 2022. (Photo credit: Qatar News Agency/Handout via REUTERS)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Qatar on 21 February leading a delegation of a number of his cabinet ministers for a two-day visit to the Gulf country.
Raisi will also represent Iran in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) taking place in Doha.
Upon his arrival the Iranian head of state met with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The delegations from both countries signed 14 cooperation documents in the fields of “aviation, trade, shipping, radio and television, visa cancellation, electricity, standards, culture and education,” according to MEHR News Agency.
Rostam Ghasemi, Iran’s Minister of Roads and Transport, said that the agreements include the construction of an underwater rail-and-road tunnel that would connect Iran and Qatar, a project that currently is under the feasibility study stage.
Iran’s Ports Authority executive chief, Ali Akhbar Safei, said on 20 February that the tunnel will link Iran’s Port of Dayyer, situated in its southern province of Bushehr, to Qatar.
Prior to his flight to Doha on 21 February, Raisi said that Iran viewed the visit as “a step towards activating diplomacy with neighbors, especially Persian Gulf countries,” where the two nations could take advantage of “their capacities to develop political and economic ties.”
The other three infrastructural projects are related to maritime trade and airline travel.
According to Reuters, in addition to the four infrastructural agreements, two energy agreements were also discussed.
The success of Iran’s current talks with Qatar is expected to bring Iran back into the global energy market, as Iran is the owner of the world’s second-largest energy reserves. Iran’s building of economic ties, which include energy agreements, with other states is expected to enable its international oil sales in spite of crushing US sanctions.
Iran and Qatar have been deepening their economic ties in the wake of the 2017 row between the Arab Quartet states, an alliance of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt, against Doha.