Collapse of Iran nuclear deal could lead to Gulf conflict, warns former Qatar PM

Collapse of Iran nuclear deal could lead to Gulf conflict, warns former Qatar PM
Qatar's former premier has warned that if efforts to revive a nuclear deal with Iran reach a dead end it could have devastating consequences on the Gulf region.
3 min read
15 January, 2023
Iran and the US along with other world powers have failed to reach a deal to revive [Getty/archive]

Former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim warned Saturday that a collapse of international efforts to renew Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal could lead to war in the Gulf region.

In a series of tweets, the former premier and former foreign minister said a failure to reach an agreement with Iran will threaten the region’s security and stability.

"The situation in our Gulf region has become fraught with dangers and requires everyone to pay constant attention in anticipation of any possibilities. The West, led by the United States, has not yet reached an agreement that will bring the nuclear agreement with Iran back to life," the former prime minister, known as HBJ, said.

"We know that Israel is pushing hard to obtain some equipment and weapons that enable it to bomb Iranian targets that it considers to pose a great threat to it. However, the American side is still reluctant to provide Israel with those weapons."

For more than a decade, Israel has threatened to attack its regional enemy's nuclear facilities if it deems world powers' diplomacy with Tehran a dead end.

Bitter foes, a "shadow war" between Israel and Iran has seen a spate of attacks on ships in the Gulf from both sides that they have blamed on each other.

"If parties do not reach a new nuclear deal with Iran, and the United States provides Israel with the weapons it needs, there will be, God forbid, military escalation that may shake security and stability in our region and will have dire economic, political and social consequences," continued bin Jassim on Twitter.

He stressed the need to address existing problems "peacefully" to the US, warning that the Gulf would be the first to lose in the event of an outbreak of violence.

The Qatari official sounded "less optimistic" about a deal being reached but did not rule out a sudden and positive shift in negotiations.

HBJ's statements came a day after the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said that talks with Iran had broken down.

Speaking from the Vatican earlier this week, Grossi acknowledged there was an "impasse" with international negotiations "broken down" over "a volatile and dangerous issue."

Former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran. In return, Iran begun producing uranium enriched to 60 percent.

Talks to revive the pact began in April 2021 but have stalled in recent months amid tensions between Iran and other parties to the deal.

There have also been rapprochement efforts between Iran and long-time regional rival Saudi Arabia. Unlike Riyadh, countries like Qatar, Kuwait and Oman have long shared relatively better ties with Tehran.