Iran is sending its foreign minister to Oman, an issue that has raised eyebrows in Iran and the Gulf. Oman has often positioned itself as a kind of intermediary or neutral country in the region’s squabbles. It is not involved in the various conflicts in the neighborhood. As such it is courted by Iran and the Gulf and other states and even hosted then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018.
According to the stories, the Iranian foreign minister already left Tehran for Muscat in Oman.
Hossein Amirabdollahian will also visit China in the coming days, according to reports. So why is Oman the first stop on an important journey? Reports in Iran are short on information, saying only that he is meeting Omani officials.
“The main focus of the talks during this trip will be to explore ways to expand mutual relations in various political, economic and cultural fields, as well as to discuss important issues in the region,” the reports say. He is accompanied by a large delegation apparently.
Iran’s media hints at “important issues.” This could include talks about Yemen. Iran recently evacuated its ambassador to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The rebels have been attacking Saudi Arabia.
Iran may also be doing talks in Oman aimed at repairing relations with other Gulf states or focusing on naval and marine issues in the Gulf of Oman, where there have been tensions between Iran and other countries.
The Iranian reports don’t mention these sensitive issues but do mention the volume of trade between Iran and Oman. It says trade is around a billion dollars, which isn’t a tremendous amount.
“Tehran says that the level of exchange can be raised to five billion dollars,” the report says. Iran has also said that Oman released “nearly $2 billion in Iranian funds frozen due to US sanctions.” A large delegation from the foreign ministry will likely be there to discuss more than just trade.
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