Friday July 3rd, 2020 10:14PM

The Latest: Iran welcomes restoring of Qatari relations

By The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on Qatar's restoration of diplomatic relations with Iran (all times local):

3 p.m.

Iran has welcomed the recent Qatari decision for restoring diplomatic relations with Iran.

That's according to a Thursday report by Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.

IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying: "We welcome this measure by the Qatari government."

Qatar had pulled its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran. The decision to return the ambassador, announced early Thursday, comes amid a diplomatic dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations.

___

9:50 a.m.

Qatar says its foreign minister spoke with Iran's foreign minister just before announcing its ambassador would return to Tehran.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry in a statement said that Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke by phone to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.

The ministry's statement said the two "discussed bilateral relations and means of boosting and developing them, as well as a number of issues of common concern."

Iran's Foreign Ministry did not immediately acknowledge the telephone call.

Qatar had pulled its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran. The decision to return the ambassador comes amid a diplomatic dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations.

___

7:20 a.m.

Qatar has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, ignoring the demands of Arab nations now trying to isolate the energy-rich country to downgrade its ties.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry announced early Thursday that the country's ambassador would return to Tehran. Qatar pulled its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran.

Qatar said in a statement that the move "expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields." Iranian state media acknowledged the development, without elaborating.

Qatar and Iran share a massive offshore natural gas field that requires communication between the two countries. Since the diplomatic dispute with Arab nations began in June, Iran has sent food shipments to Qatar.

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