Israel appeared to have been the main topic in a meeting between Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the visiting Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Tehran on May 12.
"Wherever they set their feet on, the Zionists [Israel] cause corruption," Khamenei declared, according to a report published by his official website. "The Arab world is expected to openly enter the field of political action against [Israel's] obvious crimes."
In what appeared as a word of caution to Sheikh Tamim, the Iranian leader suggested that relations with Israel do not promise any "power and privilege" and that Israel "is in no position that one should be sacred by."
The Islamic Republic has relentlessly expressed its ferocious opposition to a chain of normalization pacts between Arab states and Israel, slamming the rapprochement as "treason."
Khamenei concluded that "we in the region ought to strengthen our ties through consultation and cooperation" as he condemned the "malicious Zionists" whose "decades-long oppression against Palestinians … has dealt a blow to the Islamic and Arab world."
The Qatari emir, according to the Khamenei website, "admired the distinguished position" of the Iranian leader in the Islamic world, lamented Israeli "crimes" and urged unity in the face of "the developments in Palestine."
Before sitting down with Khamenei, the Qatari leader appeared at a joint press conference with Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, where the focus was regional developments and calls for political settlements to conflicts from Syria and Yemen to Afghanistan.
"Our view toward the Vienna talks is positive," the emir declared in a passing reference to the negotiations between Tehran and world powers on restoring the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Iranian president made zero mention of the accord.
Given the close ties that Doha maintains with both Washington and Tehran, many observers assumed the Qatari emir was to play mediator between the two enemies, and attempt to defrost the stalled JCPOA talks.
The assumption that Qatar's leader was in Tehran for mediation has been strengthened by his official itinerary. The emir is planning to visit Germany and the UK — two other JCPOA signatories — after leaving the Iranian capital.
Yet the Iranian media reported little, if any, on whether or not Sheikh Tamim was in Tehran for shuttle diplomacy with a JCPOA-related proposal in his pockets.