Iran’s national flag carrier, Iran Air, announced that it has carried four consignments of foodstuff to Qatar after the Arab country was boycotted by its other neighbors.
“After Qatar was sanctioned by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, Iran Air has transferred foodstuff and vegetables to Qatar on four flights so far,” Head of Iran Air’s Public Relations Office Shahrokh Noushabadi told FNA on Saturday.
He underlined Iran Air’s preparedness to transfer more foodstuff and vegetable to Qatar upon the Arab country’s demand.
Iran has rallied to Qatar’s aid, offering the Persian Gulf state the use of three of its ports to import supplies as its Arab neighbors seek to isolate the emirate.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, said Doha would be able to import all the goods it needed. He described 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,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters.
Riyadh and its allies on Monday announced their move to isolate Qatar, accusing the Persian Gulf state of supporting terrorist groups and being too close to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival.
Turkey also on Wednesday threw its weight behind Doha, fast-tracking plans to deploy extra Turkish troops to Qatar, potentially putting Ankara on a collision course with Riyadh.
Qatar, which hosts the US’s main military base in the Middle East, admits that it supports Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the Palestinian faction. But it denies it backs terrorism.
The small nation 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.
But he decried the humanitarian cost of Qatar’s neighbors’ actions, which has meant that Saudis, Emiratis and Bahrainis have to leave Qatar in two weeks. Qataris also have the same amount of time to leave those nations.