A scale model of the 40,000-seater Al-Thumama Stadium is displayed during an unveiling ceremony at Hamad International Airport in the Qatari capital Doha on August 24, 2017. AFP / KARIM JAAFAR
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Qatar restored full diplomatic relations with Iran early Thursday and promised to send its ambassador back to Tehran – a move counter to the demands of Arab nations trying to isolate Doha as part of a regional dispute.Iran, which welcomed Doha's decision, has sent food to Qatar and allowed its airplanes to increasingly use the Islamic Republic's airspace.Restoring diplomatic ties will undoubtedly anger those opposing Qatar in the regional dispute, chief among them Saudi Arabia, Iran's regional rival. Qatar pulled its ambassador from Tehran in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite preacher sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran, a move to show solidarity with the kingdom. A short Foreign Ministry statement issued early Thursday changed that, saying Qatar's ambassador soon would return to Iran.Despite recalling its ambassador in 2016, Qatar maintained its valuable commercial ties to Iran.The boycotting countries later issued a list of 13 demands to Qatar, including that Doha shut its diplomatic posts in Iran.
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