Iran urges 'dialogue' to resolve Gulf row over Qatar


Tehran (AFP)

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday urged Qatar and neighbouring Gulf Arab countries that have severed diplomatic ties with it to engage in dialogue to resolve their dispute.

"Neighbours are permanent; geography can't be changed. Coercion is never the solution. Dialogue is imperative, especially during blessed Ramadan," Zarif tweeted, referring to the Muslim month of fasting.

He also phoned his counterparts in Turkey, Indonesia, Iraq and Oman to discuss the "latest regional developments".

Earlier, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi also said in a statement that a solution to the differences between Qatar and its three Gulf neighbours "is only possible through political and peaceful methods and dialogue between the parties".

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, plus Egypt and Yemen, on Monday announced they were cutting all ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism, in the biggest diplomatic crisis in the region for years.

Ghasemi said increased tension among its southern neighbours "is not to the benefit of any governments in the region and threatens the interests of all" at a time when the world was "suffering widespread terrorism and extremism".

Shiite Iran has had no diplomatic ties with most of the mainly Sunni Gulf states since 2016, when Arab nations followed Saudi Arabia in severing relations after protesters torched its missions in the Islamic republic.

"Using sanctions in today's integrated world is inefficient, to be condemned and unacceptable," Ghasemi added of Qatar's neighbours closing all land, sea and air links with it.

"Protecting the national sovereignty of independent governments, avoiding interference in their internal affairs and respecting recognised international borders are internationally recognised and fundamental rights which must be respected by all sides."