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Oman’s top diplomat visits Iran after US trip
Zarif: Iran supports efforts to ease regional tensions

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced support on Monday for de-escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf region as he hosted his counterpart from traditional mediator Oman for talks in Tehran.

The visit by Oman's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, came a week after he held a meeting in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

It is the second time since late July that bin Alawi has been sent to Iran by the sultanate.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said Zarif, in talks with bin Alawi, had "emphasized the necessity of reducing tensions in the region".

He also said Iran was ready to enter talks with all regional nations.

Zarif said Iran was serious about a plan – dubbed the Hormuz Peace Endeavour – which Tehran earlier put forward to reduce regional tensions.

President Hassan Rouhani announced the peace plan at the UN General Assembly in September, calling on Arab nations in the Persian Gulf, including Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia, to join it.

In a tweet, the Omani Foreign Ministry said that bin Alawi and Zarif had "discussed bilateral relations and regional issues".

According to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, bin Alawi said the situation in the region makes dialogue and mutual understanding necessary more than ever.

“In this regard, holding a comprehensive and inclusive conference with the participation of all countries with an interest can be helpful,” he said.

The Omani minister's trip to Iran comes a week after he met Pompeo during an official visit to the United States.

The US State Department said at the time that Pompeo thanked him for "Oman's cooperation on security and counterterrorism issues".

Long-fraught relations between Tehran and Washington plunged to a new low last year when the US unilaterally withdrew from an international accord that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

The arch-foes came to the brink of a military confrontation in June when Iran downed an American spy drone and US President Donald Trump ordered retaliatory strikes before canceling them at the last minute.

 

Need for regional coalitions

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council also met with bin Akawi. Ali Shamkhani said the security of the Middle East can be guaranteed only through the establishment of regional coalitions free from any form of foreign interference.

"Only those coalitions, which are free from influence and interference of foreigners, can solve problems, restore security [to the region] and last [for a long time]," Shamkhani said.

The Iranian official's remarks were clear reference to the failure of the United States in forming a so-called coalition comprising regional and extra-regional states to allegedly protect security of shipping in the Persian Gulf.

On November 7, the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), a US-led military coalition in the Persian Gulf, officially launched its operations supposedly seeking to protect shipping lanes near Iranian territorial waters.

The US Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain announced that the IMSC, formerly known as Operational Sentinel, had opened its command center in the country.

Shamkhani said, "A country that is not committed to any of its obligations, whether in connection with Iran or in exchanges with other countries, cannot be trusted."

Those countries, which have played a leading role in creating tension and insecurity in the region and caused chaos by waging different wars and spreading terrorism, have never been after stability and security in the Persian Gulf and only seek to serve their own interests and plunder the region, the senior Iranian official warned.

The Omani foreign minister, for his part, hailed regular consultations between Tehran and Muscat on regional and international issues and said any tension in the region would not be beneficial to any Persian Gulf littoral states.

Alawi added that the establishment of sustainable security in the region calls for consensus among all regional countries and settlement of misunderstandings.

He also expressed his country's readiness to make use of its potential to ease ongoing tensions and prepare the ground for constructive dialog among regional states.

AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.

 

 

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