A woman walks past a graffiti mural depicting scenes of fighters painted along Palestine Square in the Iranian capital Tehran on July 24, 2018. File photo: Atta Kenare / AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Tehran has denied rumors Oman is mediating between Iran and the US to resolve tensions following Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi denied there are any attempts by Oman’s foreign minister to mediate between Iran and the US, IRNA news agency reported Monday.
Qasemi said he is not aware of any connection between the Iranian foreign minister’s recent visit to Oman and the Omani foreign minister’s visit to Washington.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, on July 2.
The Omani foreign minister met with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on July 27, with the alleged aim of helping to de-escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Sultan Qaboos of Oman played an important role in facilitating the early stages of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, which led to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015.
In May 2018, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, threating tough economic sanctions on Iran.
In the last six months, the Iranian currency has lost more than 60 percent of its value. On Sunday, the Iranian rial fell to 112,000 against the dollar, down from 98,000 to the dollar the previous day.
Oman has tried to remain neutral in the Middle East’s myriad conflicts. It was the only member of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to maintain diplomatic relations with Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It also refused to join the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and did not support Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s stance against Qatar.
Even with growing pressure on Iran, Oman has maintained friendly relations with Tehran.
A week after Washington and Tehran exchanged a series of diplomatic barbs, Trump dramatically changed his tone on Monday, telling reporters he is willing to meet with Iranian leaders “any time” with “no preconditions”.