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Iranians debate whether to take advantage of Qatar crisis

The crisis surrounding Qatar has caught the attention of Iranian media, with debate emerging about whether to take advantage of Doha’s isolation from its Arab neighbors.
An Iranian man walks past a Qatar Airways branch in the capital Tehran on June 6, 2017.
A ban on Qatari flights imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies took effect as first efforts were made to resolve the biggest feud to hit the Arab world in years. Saudi Arabia and allies including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar on Monday, accusing the Gulf state of supporting extremism.
 / AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/A

The crisis involving Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar has caught the attention of Iranian media, with many outlets considering the crisis an opportunity for Iran's struggling economy while also warning the government not to take any sides in the "war among sheikhs."

The first reaction in Iran came from President Hassan Rouhani's deputy chief of staff for political affairs Hamid Aboutalebi, who almost took Qatar's side. “The rift and collapse of the [Saudi-led Arab] coalition are the results of the sword dance [of US President Donald Trump and Saudi rulers] in Riyadh. … The age of playing the role of Big Brother is over. … The age of sanctions is over, too, and cutting diplomatic ties, closing borders, blockading countries, expelling members from the coalition … are not the way out of the crisis,” tweeted Aboutalebi June 5. Meanwhile, Bahram Ghassemi, the spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry, took a neutral stance, saying June 5, "The solution to differences among regional countries, including the current dispute between Qatar and its … neighboring states, is possible only through political and peaceful methods as well as transparent and explicit dialogue among the involved parties."

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