Tehran (GPA) – Iran, Turkey, and Qatar signed the final agreement on Sunday hoping to increase trade between the three nations.
This new transportation package was announced yesterday from a meeting in Tehran between the Economic Ministers for Iran (Mohammad Shariatmadari), Turkey (Nihat Zeybekci), and Qatar (Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani).
This announcement was preceded by several other high-level bilateral meetings held between Iranian and visiting officials. Al Thani met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday before the trade talks while Zeybekci was meeting with Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari.
The new deal will rework the red tape and logistics involved in moving goods between the three countries to accelerate deliveries.Each nation will benefit from this deal, with Iranian outlets reporting it is likely to create several hundred companies to better facilitate trade. However, each country is also going to benefit in ways tailored to their situations.
Qatar, for example, will see the largest benefit of this deal in the short-term due to their immediate need to import more goods following the economic blockade placed on the nation by Saudi Arabia. Since Doha has been isolated by the other Gulf monarchies they have found Tehran and Ankara more than willing to help them shed their dependence on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Qatar, which produces very few actual consumer goods and has minimal agriculture, which means that “Foodstuff and construction material have been Qatar’s main imported goods from Iran,” according to Al Thani. Qatar is also in the midst of a construction boom in anticipation of the 2022 World Cup which will be held in Doha.
Turkey likely sees this deal as just the latest victory in Ankara’s campaign to become a more influential player in the Middle East. Unfortunately for Turkey’s allies, such as their fellow NATO members, are likely to be unhappy with Ankara both for facilitating further resistance by Qatar to Saudi demands and for making this agreement with Iran – a country seen as hostile by the current US regime.
Finally, there is Iran, which will not only see the economic benefits of playing the middle man for Ankara and Doha but also the geopolitical ones. This new agreement not only moves Qatar farther from Saudi Arabia but Iran also pulled it off with the help of a NATO member. These growing ties between Turkey and Iran are also likely to have effects in Europe, where nations that rely on good relations with Ankara and tepidly trade with Tehran are more likely to push back against further aggression towards Iran by the US.
Al Thani also expressed Qatar’s interest in doing more business with Azerbaijan through Turkey and Iran. “Iran is playing an important role in the transport of goods from Turkey and Azerbaijan to Qatar,” he said.
Turkey and Iran have also reportedly worked out a separate bilateral agreement during the summit that targets the engineering field. According to Turkish media, this new agreement will be placed into effect on an industry estimated to be worth about $10 billion annually.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.