Iran, Turkey sign deal with Qatar to ease Gulf blockade

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July, 2017 (AFP Photo/HO) (TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/AFP/File)

Tehran (AFP) - Iran and Turkey signed a deal Sunday with Qatar aimed at boosting commercial ties with the Gulf state which is under blockade by its Arab neighbours, Iranian state television said.

The broadcaster's website said the agreement provides for the creation of a "joint working group to facilitate the transit of goods between the three countries".

It also said the three nations aimed to tackle "obstacles to sending goods from Iran and Turkey to Qatar".

Qatar's relationship with Shiite-dominated Iran, seen as the major rival to Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, is one of the major factors underpinning the crisis between Qatar and its former allies.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt all cut ties with Qatar in June, accusing Doha of backing extremism and fostering ties with Iran, charges that Qatar denies.

Since the crisis erupted, Iran and Turkey -- whose relations have warmed considerably in recent months -- have sought to help break Qatar's isolation, including by increasing food exports to the emirate.