RELIGION

Qatar restores diplomatic ties to Iran amid regional crisis

Qatar has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, ignoring the demands of Arab nations now trying to isolate the energy-rich country to downgrade its ties.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry announced early Thursday that the country's ambassador would return to Tehran. Qatar pulled its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran.

Qatar said in a statement that the move "expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields." Iranian state media acknowledged the development, without elaborating.

Qatar and Iran share a massive offshore natural gas field that requires communication between the two countries. Since the diplomatic dispute with Arab nations began in June, Iran has sent food shipments to Qatar.