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Wed 6 Jan 2016 02:02 PM

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Oman stops short of cutting ties with Iran over Saudi attacks

Sultanate expresses regret but does not join Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in revoking diplomatic ties

Oman stops short of cutting ties with Iran over Saudi attacks

Oman expressed regret on Wednesday at attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran over Riyadh's execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric, but stopped short of recalling its ambassador or cutting ties as some other Gulf Arab countries have done.

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Shi'ite Iran on Sunday, responding to the storming of its embassy in Tehran and attack on its consulate in Mashhad, in an escalating row between the rival Middle East powers over the death of cleric Nimr Al Nimr.

Fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Bahrain also followed suit, while the United Arab Emirates downgraded its ties with Iran and Kuwait recalled its envoy to Tehran.

"A statement issued by the foreign ministry said that the Sultanate considers this action unacceptable and at the same time affirms the importance of finding new rules that prohibit any kind of intervention in countries' internal affairs," the Oman News Agency reported.

The Arabian peninsular state is seen as having a less fraught relationship with Iran compared to other Gulf countries and pursues a "good neighbour" relationship with Tehran.

Its ruler, Sultan Qaboos, orchestrated secret US-Iran contacts that began in Muscat in 2012, leading to the first formal talks between the United States and Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, paving the way for July's nuclear deal.