November 21, 2018

White House Urges Qatar to End Support of Iran’s Terror Proxies

The Trump administration reportedly urged Qatar on May 12 to cease supporting Iran’s terror proxies after email unveiled ties between the two.

The Telegraph is reporting that they have seen emails between Qatari officials and the likes of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Solemani as being warm. Included in these emails are ransom payments from Qatar to Shia militias in Iraq to release members of Qatar’s royal family.

“What these emails show is that a number of senior Qatari government officials have developed cordial relations with senior figures in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, as well as a number of Iranian-sponsored terrorist organizations,” a senior US security official told the Telegraph. “At a time when the US government is trying to persuade Iran to end its support for terror groups in the Middle East, we do not believe it is helpful that Qatar continues to have ties with such organizations.”

The emails reflect the growing ties between Iran and Qatar, driven by trade relations as Qatar’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have soured.

The Trump administration calling for Qatar to end such ties is among their latest efforts to put economic pressure on the regime in Tehran after President Trump announced the United States’ exit from the Iran nuclear deal. On May 15, the administration announced that they would be slapping Iran’s central bank with sanctions for being used as a vehicle to funnel funds between Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.

“It is appalling, but not surprising, that Iran’s senior-most banking official would conspire with the IRGC-QF to facilitate funding of terror groups like Hezbollah, and it undermines any credibility he could claim in protecting the integrity of the institution as a central bank governor,” Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said in a statement.  “The United States will not permit Iran’s increasingly brazen abuse of the international financial system. The global community must remain vigilant against Iran’s deceptive efforts to provide financial support to its terrorist proxies.”

If the Trump administration can find a way to end Qatar’s funding of Iran’s terror proxies as well as its ties with Iran in general, it would help them in cracking down on Iran’s financial support of terrorism.