“We are not encouraging unilateral measures against any country. Sanctions are not the way forward to solve a problem,” Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani told CNBC.
Al Thani said Qatar was not on the same page with other Persian Gulf Arab states that did not support the historic agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“We see that Iran was also under sanctions for 40 years but we reached an agreement, the international community reached an agreement, and the (P)GCC was excluded from this agreement and this was part of our disagreement on the JCPOA.”
Persian Gulf Cooperation Council is the name of a bloc of six Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar that did not endorse the JCPOA, with some states like Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE publically supporting the US unilateral withdrawal from the deal.
Al Thani hailed the Iran nuclear deal, saying the agreement managed to de-escalate the tensions in the region.
He said the US withdrawal from the JCPOA will lead to developments where the region may face a nuclear race, something he believed would be “very dangerous.”
“We encourage the US to come back to the negotiations and to have diplomatic solution because we cannot afford another further escalation in the region.”
The US move, he believed, has also complicated the geopolitical fault-lines in the region as well.
“You can imagine our situation in Qatar. We are between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both of them are rivals. Also Iran and the US and the US has a very strong relationship with Qatar and this puts us under uncomfortable situation.”
US President Donald Trump withdrew his country in May from the landmark Iran nuclear deal and decided to reimpose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
Under the deal, reached between Iran and six major powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China – Tehran agreed to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
France, Germany and Britain – European signatories to world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran – have scrambled to come up with measures to preserve its economic benefits for Tehran in bid to salvage the agreement.
They have offered Iran a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that would act as a clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports to purchases of EU goods, circumventing US sanctions which are based on the global use of the dollar for oil trading.