“Pressure, intimidation, and sanctions cannot be suitable solutions to possible disagreements among regional countries,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Qatari Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Sunday in a telephone conversation, Mehr news agency reports.
Accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Doha on June 5. On June 22, Kuwait delivered a list of 13 demands that it said Qatar must fulfil within 10 days for the blockade to be lifted. Among the key points of the ultimatum is the demand to cut ties with Iran.
While the Qatari Foreign Ministry has yet to issue an official reply, the director of the government’s communications office, Sheikh Saif Al-Thani, called the Gulf States’ demands “unrealistic” and said they were aimed at limiting Qatar’s sovereignty.
Tehran, which has been helping Qatar deal with the blockade, promised to continue its support of a “brother” state by servicing Doha’s air, sea and land needs.
Calling the siege “not acceptable for Iran,” Rouhani said it is ready to undertake “necessary measures for peace settling in the region,” hoping that de-escalation would be achieved through dialogue.
In wake of the economic and diplomatic blockade, Iran began delivering over 1,100 tons of food products to Qatar daily through its Dayyer and Bolkheir Ports in the Persian Gulf. Some food products have also been delivered on board air cargo. In addition, Qatar has been using Iranian airspace to conduct its commercial flights.
During Sunday’s conversation, Rouhani stressed that Iran is further interested in developing economic ties with Qatar.
“A common goal for both sides can be to help Qatar’s economy and expand special relations between the private sectors of the two countries,” the Iranian president said, according to Mehr News agency.
50,000 protesters form 90km human chain to demand closure of aging Belgian nuclear reactors (VIDEO)
The organizers said that 50,000 people from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands joined the action Sunday.
The human chain originated from the Tihange plant, located in Huy municipality in the Wallon province of Liege in Belgium, going through Maastricht in the Netherlands to end in the German city of Aachen.
The protesters said that they were concerned with the safety of the pressure vessels at the Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactor near Antwerp.
“The first demand is actually to stop Tihange 2, because there are many, many fissures in that power plant and it’s not secure,” Rodrique Dumas, protester and Huy city council member for the Green Party, told RT’s Ruptly video agency.
The units in question at Tihange and Doel nuclear power stations went online in 1982-83 and “were not made to last so long,” another Huy city council member, Samuel Cogolati, added.
“And we’ve been prolonging their life time, and this is extremely unusual. Actually, there are only nine nuclear plants in the world that have been lasting for so long,” Cogolati added.
In mid-June, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon confirmed that 70 new micro-cracks were discovered in the Tihange 2 high-pressure boiler since the 2015 inspection, which recorded 3,149 imperfections. New damage points were also reportedly found at Doel 3, but the authorities insist that both plants are perfectly safe.
Belgium has prolonged the lifespan of its aged reactors due to 39 percent of the country’s demand in electricity being satisfied by its seven nuclear reactors. Over 6 percent of Belgium’s electricity is generated by the two reactors in question.
Last year Germany, which decided to get rid of its nuclear reactors by 2022 after the Fukushima disaster, urged Belgium to switch off Tihange 2 and Doel 3 “until open safety questions are cleared up.”