Iran has sent five planes of vegetables to Qatar, Iran’s national carrier said on Sunday, days after Gulf countries cut off air and other transport links to the emirate.
‘So far five planes carrying... vegetables have been sent to Qatar, each carrying around 90 tonnes of cargo, while another plane will be sent today,’ Iran Air spokesman Shahrokh Noushabadi said.
‘We will continue deliveries as long as there is demand’ from Qatar, Noushabadi added, without mentioning if these deliveries were exports or aid.
Three ships loaded with 350 tonnes of fruit and vegetables were also set to leave an Iranian port for Qatar, the Tasnim news agency quoted a local official as saying.
The port of Dayyer is Iran’s closest port to Qatar.
Meanwhile, Qatar moved to avoid an escalation of its feud with Gulf neighbours by telling their citizens they are welcome to stay, while boasting of ‘business as usual’ for vital gas exports.
Nearly a week after Saudi Arabia and several of its allies severed ties with Qatar in an unprecedented Gulf diplomatic crisis, there were no signs of the bitter dispute being resolved.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and others accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups, an assertion since backed by US president Donald Trump.
Qatar strongly rejects the allegations and has said it is open to talks on ending the dispute, which also saw the three Gulf states order all Qatari citizens out of their countries within 14 days.
The crisis has raised deep concerns of instability in the region and on Sunday Kuwait’s foreign minister said his country would continue efforts to mediate a solution to the crisis.
Qatar said late on Saturday it would not retaliate with such measures of its own.
A statement carried on Qatari state media said Doha would ‘not take any measures against residents of Qatar who hold the nationalities of countries that severed diplomatic ties... on the back of hostile and tendentious campaigns against the country’.
The decision will come as a relief to the more than 11,000 people from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain living in Qatar.
Concerns have been raised for the impact of these measures on people who live in all the countries affected.
‘For potentially thousands of people across the Gulf, the effect of the steps imposed in the wake of this political dispute is suffering, heartbreak and fear,’ Amnesty International has said.
Saudi Arabia said Sunday it was ordering ‘suitable measures’ to help families with mixed citizenships but provided few details.
Despite the unprecedented sanctions, Qatar says that its crucial exports of liquified gas have not been interrupted.
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