DOHA, Qatar — Qatar’s defense minister dismissed Wednesday the possibility of a war between the United States and Iran amid rising tensions in the Gulf following attacks on oil tankers.
Doha is an ally of Washington, but also has good relations with Tehran that have helped it overcome a political and economic boycott by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies over accusations the tiny kingdom backs the Islamic republic and extremists.
“I don’t see a war in the future between the United States and Iran,” said Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah during the Global Security Forum in Doha.
“A war will be in no one’s interest,” he said.
Tensions have soared in the Gulf in recent months with a series of attacks on oil infrastructure and tankers which have raised fears of a war between the arch-rivals.
Last month, two Saudi oil facilities were attacked, temporarily halving the kingdom’s crude output and setting oil markets alight.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, but US officials blamed Tehran and charged that the rebels did not have the range or sophistication to target the facilities.
Tehran has denied involvement and warned of “total war” in the event of any attack on its territory.
Tensions between Iran and the United Stated have soared since US President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 international nuclear deal that was meant to lift sanctions in exchange for a commitment from Tehran to curb its atomic program.
Trump reimposed economic sanctions and in May his administration said it would unilaterally force all countries to stop buying Iran’s oil, one of Tehran’s main sources of wealth.
Tehran soon afterwards shot down an unmanned US drone. At the very last minute, Trump stepped back from launching a strike on Iranian assets in June saying it would cause too many casualties.
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