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Iranian traders have exported four food shipments to Qatar via an Iran Air cargo Boeing 747, after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain boycotted Doha, a spokesman for the Iranian flag carrier has announced.

“Iran Air has so far transported food and vegetables with four flights to Qatar,” Shahrokh Noushabadi was also quoted as saying by Fars News Agency on Saturday.

“The food shipments were transported from airports in Tehran and Shiraz,” he added, stressing that Iran Air is ready to send more shipments “in line with demand and request of the Qatari people and government”.

Iran Air told Financial Tribune that the flights were chartered by private traders, starting as of Thursday. The company said it has not received any requests from the government in Qatar or airlines there for potential cooperation.

The Saudi-led coalition cut diplomatic ties as well as all land, marine and air connections with Qatar as of Monday, in what many describe as the worst rift in the Arab world in decades. It was triggered by Saudi Arabia accusing the energy-rich sheikhdom that it provides support for terrorist groups across the Middle East.

While the spat raised concerns among the Qatari population of 2.23 million, its government has tried to weather the storm, assuring the panicked residents the food supplies are adequate.

Doha is also accused of siding with Iran, which is considered by Saudis as an adversary.

The Islamic Republic, alongside Qatar’s other powerful ally Turkey, has backed Doha, expressing readiness to supply food to the country that so far has depended on commodities trucked in through its only land order with Saudi Arabia.

An anonymous Qatari official was quoted earlier as saying by Reuters that his country is in talks with “Turkey and Iran and other countries” about securing food and water supplies to stave off any shortages.

source: Financial Tribune

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