Iranian foreign minister says the Islamic Republic’s export of food items to Qatar is part of normal trade relations between the two neighbouring countries amid the ongoing blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies on Qatar.
“We are a neighbour of Qatar and we always want positive relations with all our neighbours. And that does not exclude any of our neighbours,” Zarif said in response to a reporter who asked if Iran plans to send more food and other help to Qatar amid the ongoing blockade.
“If our Qatari neighbours require any assistance from Iran, Iran will be ready to provide that assistance. It is not assistance, it is normal trade which we believe everybody should prepare to conduct with others,” the Iranian FM added, speaking in a joint press conference with his Norwegian counterpart in Oslo.
Zarif referred to the move by Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies to close their borders with Qatar, and said the imposition of blockade is not a way to resolve conflicts, difficulties, and differences.
“We have open borders with Qatar, we have open lines of communication with Qatar and we are prepared to continue to allow normal business, normal trade with Qatar in areas that the private sector and public sector find it useful for them to engage,” he added.
Iran has already sent five planes of food items such as fruits and vegetables to Qatar, each of which carried around 90 tons of cargo.
Tehran voiced its preparedness to provide Doha with whatever food products the Arab country needs immediately after Saudi Arabia and a number of others broke off relations with Qatar, which relies heavily on importing food.
Back on June 5, the head of Iran’s Agricultural Products Exporters Union Reza Noorani said the Islamic Republic is ready to export various types of agricultural and food products to Qatar through three Iranian port cities.
Saudi Arabia has closed Qatar’s only land border, and Iran, as the closest country to Qatar, can export food products to the Arab country through a 12-hour shipping lane, he added.
Three Iranian ports of Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, and Bandar Lengeh are now ready to be used for the dispatch of Iranian products to Qatar, Noorani went on to say.
Many people in Qatar flocked to local supermarkets and grocery stores to stock up on food items after waking up to news of Saudi Arabia closing the country’s only land border.