In the last days in office, the Trump Administration is reportedly seeking to ramp up pressure against Iran, this time by cutting Iran’s overflight revenues.
According to the New York Times, the Trump Administration officials have held talks in Doha and Riyadh to open Saudi Arabia’s sky for Qatar Airways in a bid to increase economic pressure on Iran.
“Meeting on Wednesday with Qatari leaders, Jared Kushner, a senior presidential adviser, and other White House officials raised the prospect of rerouting commercial flights from the Persian Gulf country through Saudi Arabia’s airspace instead of over Iran, according to a diplomat with knowledge of the discussions,” reads the report.
Arab states imposed an embargo against Qatar in 2017, cutting off the flight paths of Qatar and since then, the Qatari state airliner has used Iran’s airspace.
The report claims that the re-routing of the flights will cut some $100 million of Iran’s annual revenue.
“Two US officials also described a goal of Mr. Kushner’s diplomatic foray this week — which included a stop in Saudi Arabia — as seeking an agreement on the overflights issue,” it adds.
Just two weeks ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also traveled to Qatar to make what one official called his own pitch for the overflights issue to the government in the capital, Doha.
The White House declined to comment on Wednesday about Kushner’s meetings in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. His traveling delegation included Brian Hook, the State Department’s recently departed chief Iran envoy; Avi Berkowitz, a special representative for international negotiations; and Adam Boehler, the head of the International Development Finance Corporation.