If there was any confusion on which side of the Qatar crisis Iran found itself, it was swept away today after Iran’s Tasnim news, cited by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, reported that Iran plans to send two warships to Oman on Sunday.
The two ships will depart using Iran’s southern waters off the port city of Bandar Abbas for an overseas mission to the Arab Peninsula state and then on to international waters.
On Sunday, the 47th flotilla, comprised of an Alborz destroyer and Bushehr logistic warship, set sail from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, Tasnim reported. From Oman, the ships will then head to the Gulf of Aden and international waters north of the Indian Ocean. At the same time, Iran’s 46th flotilla consisting of a Sabalan destroyer and Lavan logistic warship, is due to return to Iran on Sunday after completing a two-month mission to secure naval routes and protect merchant vessels and oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden.
Separately, Reuters reported that amid food shortages after Qatar’s biggest suppliers severed ties with the import-dependent country, Iran has dispatched four cargo planes of food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tonnes of fruit and vegetable every day.
Qatar has been holding talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut links, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar, which has claimed the terrorism-funding allegations are lies, on Friday hired John Ashcroft to serve as a PR crisis mediator in the US and to defend against terrorism accusations, for which he will be paid $2.5 million for 90 days of his time.
“Following the sanctions … on Qatar, IranAir has so far transported food and vegetables to this country by four flights,” Shahrokh Noushabadi, head of public relations at Iran’s national airline, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency. The head of the industries, business and trade organization in the Fars province was also quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying on Sunday the first planes carrying food to Qatar had flown from the southern city of Shiraz.
“Every day we will export 100 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to Qatar,” Ali Hemmati said, with Reuters providing more details:
An Iranian diplomat in Doha said three cargo planes from Iran were landing in Qatar each day, bringing mostly fruit and vegetables. The diplomat also said small boats were bringing some less perishable produce.
“Dozens of Iranian businesses are ready to help Qatar with more goods if they are needed,” the diplomat said.The head of Iran’s livestock exporters said on Sunday they had exported 66 tonnes of meat to Qatar in the last two days.
“We will also be sending 90 tonnes of meat in the coming week,” Fars quoted Mansour Pourian as saying.