March 31, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10545

Qatari Foreign Ministry Spokesman: Qatar Is Continuing Iran-U.S. Mediation For A Breakthrough In The Nuclear Issue – And Is Also Continuing Its Opposition To Normalization With Syria's Assad Regime And Its Return To The Arab League

March 31, 2023
Iran, Qatar, Syria | Special Dispatch No. 10545

At the Qatari Foreign Ministry's March 28, 2023 weekly press briefing, Majed Al-Ansari, ministry spokesman and advisor to the Qatari prime minister, spoke about Qatar's efforts at mediation between Iran and the U.S. on Iran's nuclear program. He said that Qatar was continuing these efforts, and liaising between them in indirect negotiations, with the aim of bringing the sides' positions closer together and arriving at a nuclear agreement. He added that despite the great challenges in this matter, Qatar was willing to play any role to advance such an agreement, and that achieving it would contribute to regional and global stability. He also explained that Qatari officials' frequent visits to Tehran were connected to these efforts at mediation between the West and Iran on the nuclear issue.

In his comments on the recent rapprochement between many Arab states and the regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, and on reports on Syria's pending readmission to the Arab League after it was suspended in 2011, [1] Al-Ansari noted that Qatar had not changed its position on this matter. He said that at this stage there was no Arab consensus regarding normalization of relations with the Assad regime and its return to the Arab League, and clarified that Qatar was firm in its position. This position, he added, would change only with clear and positive developments in the Syrian arena, which were not evident at this time, stressing that Qatar was not going to betray the Syrian blood that had been spilled for these causes. 

Also, in an interview on Qatar's Al-Jazeera channel, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed appreciation for Qatar's role in supporting Iran's negotiations with the West, and especially with the U.S..[2]

Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari (Image:, March 28, 2023)

This report presents translations of Al-Ansari's statements:

Qatari Officials' Frequent Visits To Tehran Are For Mediating Between Iran And The West On The Nuclear Issue

The London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on March 29, 2023 that Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari had commented on the issue of Qatar's mediation between Iran and the U.S. on the nuclear issue, telling journalists at the weekly press briefing that Qatar's efforts at bridging the positions of Tehran and the Western countries are ongoing.

The report said: "Al-Ansari revealed that the contacts held by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Muhammad Bin 'Abd Al-Rahman Aal Thani [with the relevant parties] are continuing, with the aim of arriving at a breakthrough in the Iranian nuclear issue and so that these international efforts will lead to peace. Qatar, he said, was acting to bring the Iranian and Western sides closer together in the belief that reaching an agreement will support the path of peace in the region and in the world.

"Revealing that Qatar had mediated in indirect talks between Tehran and the Western countries, Al-Ansari said that to date it had not conducted direct or official contact between them and that it was willing to play any role  in order to arrive at a nuclear agreement. He also said that the telephone conversations held that day, March 23, by Prime Minister Sheikh Muhammad Bin 'Abd Al-Rahman Aal Thani with U.S. National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan and, separately, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, were part of Qatar's efforts in mediating the negotiations. According to him, the conversations focused on Qatar's cooperation with the U.S. and Iran, respectively, and on a number of regional and international matters of shared interest."[3]  

Additionally, according to a report by the Qatari news agency, "Al-Ansari said that Qatari officials' frequent visits to Tehran are connected to Qatar's efforts to bring the positions closer together and to offer suggestions to the West and to Iran on the nuclear issue. Al-Ansari noted that there were great challenges [hindering] reaching an agreement, but that the efforts and contacts with the Iranian officials were continuing."

The agency also reported: "Al-Ansari expressed hope that these efforts would produce good results, whether regarding the Iranian nuclear agreement or regarding other matters in which there was also an attempt to bring the two positions together. He stressed... that Qatar had hosted indirect negotiations between the sides and helped with European mediation, and that this [Qatari] role would continue unchanged with the aim of reaching a nuclear agreement, due to the positive influence such an agreement will have on stability in the region and in the world. He [also] clarified that Qatar's support for these efforts was at the top of its foreign policy agenda."[4]

Our Position Regarding The Syrian Regime Is Unchanged; There Is Still No Arab Consensus To Normalize Relations With It

Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that, on the Syria issue, Al-Ansari said that "Qatar’s position on resolving the Syrian crisis has not changed." When asked by the daily about Arab normalization with the Syrian regime and the shift in the relations of some countries with Damascus, he stated: "Qatar supports all initiatives aiming to bring peace to Syria and meet the ambitions of the Syrian people; [Qatar] also supports Arab and international efforts in this regard."

Al-Ansari insisted on the "stability of the Qatari position," emphasizing that "at this stage, there is no Arab consensus to normalize [relations] with the regime." He added: "Signs do not point to any development in the Syrian arena... Doha’s position is clear, stable, and unaffected by [outside] responses, unless there is development within the Syrian arena." According to him, there are no signs pointing to a return to diplomatic relations between Doha and Damascus; the topic has not been discussed and no decision has been issued, and Qatar will not "betray" the blood of the victims of the Syrian crisis.[5]

The official Qatari news agency reported that "Al-Ansari emphasized that there is still no Arab consensus on the return of the Syrian regime to the Arab League, and that the Qatari position remains unchanged; therefore there would be no normalization with the regime until the reasons for its being boycotted are gone. He said Qatar views the Syrian issue as a top Arab priority, and therefore regards Arab consensus in this matter as important. Such consensus might be reached if positive developments occur in the Syrian arena, 'which we are not currently seeing; therefore I do not think there will be any change in the Qatari position. Our position is stable and unaffected by what is happening around us as long as there are no real developments inside Syria, ones that meet the ambitions of the Syrian people, and as long as there is no Arab consensus based on positive developments in the Syrian arena. At the current stage, there is no cause for optimism regarding upcoming normalization with the Syrian regime and its readmittance into the Arab League.'

"Al-Ansari emphasized that Qatar welcomes all Arab efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis, and supports them, noting that such a resolution must be based on positive developments and real responsiveness [of the Syrian regime] to popular demands. He added that there will be no [Qatari] betrayal of the blood of Syrians that was spilled for these causes."[6]


[2] Al-Raya (Qatar), March 30, 2023;, March 31, 2023.

[3] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), March 29, 2023.

[4], March 28, 2023.

[5] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), March 29, 2023.

[6], March 28, 2023.

Share this Report: