Qatar is most likely to host the upcoming talks between Iran and the US, mediated by the European Union, to close the remaining gaps in efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.
Nour News, affiliated with Iran's top security body, said in a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday that Doha has a 'better chance' of hosting the forthcoming talks than other Gulf countries, given its 'ongoing efforts to resume talks on lifting sanctions.'
It comes a day after Iran and the EU agreed to break a three-month deadlock in the Vienna nuclear talks, following EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's meetings in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkani.
In a presser after the marathon meetings, the top EU diplomat announced that the next round of talks will be held in coming days in a Persian Gulf country, as it would take place in a format different from the Vienna talks.
The forthcoming talks, he noted, will be between Washington and Tehran, mediated by his EU team, saying the economic and nuclear aspects of the deal have been fixed and now it all boils down to 'political difficulties' between the two sides.
'But I still do not know if both will be able to overcome their respective political difficulties,' he added.
The key disagreements between Iran and the US that have led to the stalemate include the de-listing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-linked organizations and guarantees that the future US administration won't walk out of the deal again.
Borrell stopped short of specifying the name of the host country, or even the exact date of the talks, fueling speculations that it could be either Oman or Qatar, two allies of Tehran.
Pertinently, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani visited Tehran last month and held wide-ranging talks with Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, which included nuclear deal negotiations.
At a joint press conference, the Qatari leader said his country has 'always had a positive view' of talks in Vienna, and believes that dialogue is the only way to reach a deal.
The visit led to speculations about mediation efforts by the Qatari ruler to break the stalemate in the Vienna talks and unfreeze Iran's frozen assets abroad.
Interestingly, his visit to Tehran came a day after EU deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora landed in Tehran to hold talks with Iranian officials.
The Iranian government, however, is yet to come out with an official confirmation that Qatar will be hosting the forthcoming talks.
By Syed Zafar Mehdi in Tehran, Iran