Saturday , 25 September 2021

US launches inquiry into Qatar’s alleged finance activities in Iran

Al-Arabia – The United States’ Department of State has launched an inquiry into an allegation made by the Israeli government stating that Qatar’s royal family funded Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, a US-designated terrorist organization, online news organization the Washington Examiner reported Friday.

The Israeli government report said that a spokesman from the state department told the Washington-based news agency about the ongoing investigation, stressing that, “Qatar and the United States have a robust strategic, security and counterterrorism partnership.”

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Qatar is one of the United States’ closest military allies in the region. US-Qatar military and security cooperation contributes to the safety and stability of the region,” the department’s spokesperson added.

Outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin revealed the alleged financing of the IRGC by Doha in an Oval Office meeting last month between US President Joe Biden, the Washington Examiner reported.

US President Joe Biden meets with Israel's President Reuven Rivlin at the White House in Washington, US June 28, 2021. (Reuters)

US President Joe Biden meets with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin at the White House in Washington, US June 28, 2021. (Reuters)

An Israeli diplomatic official, who chose to remain anonymous, told The Times of Israel that the information came as a shock to the US.

“We fear that by returning to the JCPOA [the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], the US may be able to prevent Iran from reaching the bomb in the years ahead, but once the deal sunsets, Iran will immediately be able to restart its efforts and will have hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funds provided to them by the sanctions relief that the agreement provides,” the anonymous source added.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and some of his government attend its first cabinet meeting in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem June 13, 2021. (Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and some of his government attend its first cabinet meeting in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem June 13, 2021. (Reuters)

Israeli governments usually dismiss false news reports, according to the Washington Examiner, but haven’t done so in this case, suggesting that the intelligence might be serious and was indeed forwarded to the US government. The news agency also reported that it tried to contact several Israeli government officials on the matter, including the country’s foreign ministry, all of which chose to remain quiet on the subject.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Qatar’s Deputy Pime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani to discuss the crises in Lebanon, Yemen and Afghanistan, where the two countries’ seemingly close ties were emphasized, with al-Thani hailing US efforts in calling for “peace and security” within the region.

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