On Monday, Anthony Blinken and Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the US Secretary of State and the Prime Minister of Qatar, held a phone conversation, following a senior Qatari official’s consultations in Tehran a day earlier.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a press statement that the latest developments regarding the Iran nuclear agreement were among the issues discussed by the top American and Qatari diplomats on the phone.
According to the statement, other issues included the bilateral relations between Doha and Washington, as well as the developments in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
The phone conversation on Iran came a day after the Minister of State at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al Khulaifi, delivered a written message from the Qatari Prime Minister – who also serves as the foreign minister of the country – to Ali-Akbar Ahmadian, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
The Qatari Minister of State tweeted yesterday that he had exchanged views on the new developments in the talks on returning to the nuclear agreement, as well as regional and international matters, with Iran’s chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri Keni.
Asked a question about the prisoner swap deal between Iran and the US, Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said today in his weekly press conference, “Some governments with good relations with the parties (Iran and the US) are now active playing a role. Iran has welcomed their role. We hope the prisoner swap will happen in the short term, of course, it depends on the will of the American government.”
Blinken told CNN recently that they’re a serious belief in the US administration that diplomacy is the best way to address Iran’s nuclear program.
Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on prisoner exchange and unfreezing part of Iran’s financial assets, including in South Korea, have been underway for months, but they have been stalled by what American sources say is Washington’s new demand for releasing an additional prisoner.
Qatar and Oman, which have mediated the recent talks, have intensified their diplomatic efforts in the past few weeks to narrow the gap between the two sides in order to finalize the deal. In this context, Oman’s foreign minister visited Tehran last week, and Qatar’s Minister of State met with senior Iranian officials yesterday in Iranian capital city.