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Rohani, Rejecting Saudi-Led Blockade, Says Iran Seeks To Bolster Ties With Qatar

Iranian President Hassan Rohani

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has rejected a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar and said he wants to bolster ties with the Persian Gulf emirate, his website said on June 26.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of support for Islamist militants, an allegation Qatar denies.

They have since issued 13 demands, including closing Al-Jazeera television, curbing relations with Iran, shutting a Turkish base, and paying reparations.

"Tehran stands with the Qatari nation and government...Pressure, threats, or sanctions are not the right way to resolve differences," Rohani said.

"The siege of Qatar is unacceptable to us...The airspace, land, and sea of our country will always be open to Qatar as a brotherly and neighboring country," Rohani said. "Iran's policy is to develop more and more its relations with Doha."

Iran has offset the boycott of Qatar by shipping tons of food to Doha since the Saudis have blocked the peninsula nation's only land border through which most food imports were previously shipped.

"Helping Qatar economically and developing ties, particularly in the private sectors of both countries, could be a common goal," Rohani said.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters