Iran and Oman seeking closer ties - report

Both countries apparently endorse closer co-operation amid regional tension
Ahmadinejad called Omani ruler Sultan Qaboos yesterday.
By Daniel Shane
Thu 22 Mar 2012 02:19 PM

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly called for greater ties between the Islamic Republic and GCC member state Oman.

In a telephone conversation with Sultan Qaboos bin Said on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad told the Omani ruler that the two countries “should make efforts to raise the level of bilateral co-operation in various fields,” according to an article carried by Press TV.

The state-run news outlet claimed that Sultan Qaboos reciprocated Ahmadinejad’s sentiments, also calling for more intimate ties between the two nations.

Oman's official ONA news agency confirmed the call had taken place, but provided scant detail on its content.

Earlier this week, Oman’s government admitted that there was an escalating risk of a military conflict between the West and Iran, but said there was still plenty of opportunities to negotiate peace.

Iran has repeatedly denied charges by Western nations it is developing the capability to build nuclear weapons, but the United States and European Union have recently imposed tougher sanctions in an effort to convince Tehran to curb its nuclear programme.

"It is in the interest of both sides to come to the middle road," Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate's minister responsible for foreign affairs, told Reuters at the Foreign Ministry in Muscat.

"We can see that the threat of an unfortunate flash of military confrontation is more possible rather than it is remote."

Oman on several occasions has acted as an intermediary between Iran and the West.

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