Qatar resumes diplomatic contact with Iran

Published:  25 Aug at 6 PM
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Today’s announcement from Qatar that it’s re-establishing its diplomatic connection with Iran may well come as a relief to many expats working in the emirate.

The surprising news is likely to be poorly received by the four neighbouring Gulf States which began the crisis several months ago by cutting all diplomatic ties with the tiny country. According to a brief statement by a spokesperson from the Qatari Foreign Ministry, the Qatari ambassador is to visit Iran in order to reactivate diplomatic ties. The intention is to strengthen all aspects of relations between the two Islamic nations.

One of the four Gulf States’ key demands was the severance of all ties with Iran, although there has as yet been no response to Qatar’s surprise action. Qatar’s extensive expat community comprises all but 300,000 of the emirate’s 2.6 million population, and many expat professionals have already left or are seriously considering relocation since the crisis broke.

Iran’s support of Qatar has included supplying the state’s immediate need for construction materials used in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Although its actions haven’t helped Qatar’s increasing isolation in the Arab world, at least the site stands a chance of being ready in time. Even although the emirate is grateful for any support it can get, its rulers and political figures may be wondering how it can tolerate extended isolation in the long term.

Experts believe Qatar has more tools to bring into play, including robust investments, extensive foreign reserves and a recently established supply of essentials including foodstuffs arriving from Iran and Turkey. However, the Qatari business community is suffering increasing effects from the embargo, and businesses are beginning to wonder about the end game and whether it’s the right decision to continue to support the official government position. Expat professionals will also be wondering whether to stay or go, given that there seems to be no compromise acceptable to the four Gulf States which imposed the embargo.
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