TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Qatar’s ambassador to Tehran said Iran has played a major role in alleviating the negative effects of the Saudi-led siege on the Arabian Peninsula country.

“A whole year has passed since the siege of the Qatari government, and the Qatari people will not forget actions of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain against our country,” Ambassador Ali Bin Hamad al-Sulaiti said in an op-ed article published in the Persian-language newspaper “Iran”.  

Nor will the Qatari people forget the governments and nations that sided with their country in the midst of this crisis, he added.

Iran was the first country that provided assistance for the Qatari government, the diplomat said, adding that the Islamic Republic made efforts to reduce the negative effects of the siege on Qatari citizens.

He went on to say that Iran opened its airspace to Qatari airplanes and immediately sent food supplies to Qatar to offset the effects of the sudden halt of imports from the four states that imposed the siege on the Arab county.

In June last year, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, along with Egypt, launched their blockade of Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting "terrorism" – allegations that Qatar strongly denies.

The diplomatic crisis, the worst since the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent Persian Gulf War, has seen the Arab nations cut ties to Qatar, which hosts a major US military base and will be the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Following the siege, Doha in August decided to return its ambassador to Tehran, more than 20 months after he was recalled, and strengthen its ties with Tehran.

Doha has been receiving fresh food supplies from Iran, which has also allowed Qatar’s national carrier to use its airspace.