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Qatar's Envoy Officially Resumes Activities in Iran
September 21 2017, 02:20 | Alonzo Simpson
Moves to take Qatar to ICC gain speed
Qatar's ambassador to Tehran was recalled in January 2016 following attacks staged against Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran in protest against the execution of prominent Shi'ite leader Nimr al-Nimre by Saudi Arabia.
Qatar recalled its ambassador to Tehran in January previous year after Saudi Arabia cut ties with the Islamic Republic, following angry protests held outside its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad against the kingdom's execution of senior Shiite cleric Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr.
Qatar announced this Thursday the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Iran and the return of its ambassador to Tehran, on the background of the crisis opposing Doha to three of its Gulf neighbors plus Egypt.
Since the diplomatic dispute with the quartet of Arab nations began in June, Iran has allowed Qatar's national carrier to use its airspace and sent fresh food supplies to Doha. However, the timing could be indicative of Doha's defiance of the demands from Saudi Arabia and the other countries that joined in boycotting Doha.
On Thursday, the Qatari Foreign Ministry accused the African country of joining a "campaign of blackmail" when the Chad government made a decision to close Qatar's embassy earlier this week.
There was no immediate reaction from the Arab nations boycotting Qatar on its Iran decision.
The retaliatory move came just 24 hours after the central African state announced it was closing Qatar's embassy in N'Djamena. Qatar long has denied funding extremists.
Qatar's diplomatic staff were given 10 days to leave. However, Qatar refused to comply with the demands. Attempts by Kuwait, the USA and others have failed to make headway.
The Qatari decision was conveyed by foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani during a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss "bilateral relations and means of boosting and developing them", Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.
But Sheikh Abdullah has no role in Qatar's government and his last position was as head of the equestrian and camel racing federation decades ago. Abdullah's grandfather, father and brother were rulers of Qatar until a palace coup ousted his branch of the royal family in 1972.
But Ulrichsen cautioned that so far, the Saudi moves appeared to be more needling than anything else.
"Given that a formal escalation in terms of sanctions is probably off the table for now, we're seeing this informal pressure on Qatar.to try and perhaps stir the pot", the professor said.