TEHRAN: Iran has offered to allow Qatar use its southern ports to carry on its vital import activities after the emirate’s Arab neighbors united to isolate it.
The announcement was made by Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.
He was quoted by the Financial Times in a report as saying that Iran had offered Doha to use three of its ports in the Persian Gulf.
He said this would enable Qatar to import all the goods it needed.
Sheikh Mohammed further expressed regret that the de facto blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain as “collective punishment”.
“We have been isolated because we are successful and progressive. We are a platform for peace not terrorism,” the Financial Times quoted him as telling reporters.
Qatar imports virtually all its goods, but Sheikh Mohammed said that only 16 per cent of food supplies come into Qatar via the countries that have imposed the de facto blockade.
“It’s replaceable and has been replaced in one day,” he said. “They [Qataris] can survive at the same standard forever,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iran’s media reported on Thursday that a cargo plane carrying food supplies had flown to Qatar from the Islamic Republic.
The plane – a Boeing 747-200M – took the cargo from Iran’s southern city of Shiraz – away from Qatar by less than an hour through air. The delivery was reportedly made on Wednesday.
A Boeing 747-200M has a capacity of around 100 tons.
On a related front, Reza Nourani, the president of the National Agricultural Products Federation of Iran, was quoted by the domestic media as saying earlier this week that talks were underway to export food supplies to Qatar from next week.
Nourani said preparations were to the same effect been made to ship the supplies from Iran to Qatar through Bandar Abbas, Boushehr and Lengeh ports.
The official further emphasized that Iran was already shipping 40 to 50 containers to the UAE and Kuwait every day.
A certain amount of shipments, he said, could be diverted to Qatar. Nourani further emphasized that ships from Iran could reach Qatar between eight to 12 hours.