DUBAI - Iran's president Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday he hopes a trip to Qatar to attend a regional gas conference will boost political and trade relations with Gulf countries.

"Iran is one of the founders of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) because we are among the three most important gas producing and exporting countries," Raisi said in remarks carried by state television before he left Tehran.

The visit is the first by an Iranian President to Qatar in eleven years and is Raisi's third foreign trip since taking office.

Iran has faced gas shortages at home because of record high consumption particularly for winter household heating and has had to cut supplies to cement plants and other industries.

Washington and Tehran are in the middle of indirect talks on salvaging Iran's 2015 agreement with world powers amid growing Western fears about Tehran's accelerating nuclear advances, seen by Western powers as irreversible unless a deal is struck soon.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)