Iran turns to pragmatism as Israel woos Oman

Al-Monitor | : Oct. 26 was marked by a rare development in the Middle East: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman, the first official trip by an Israeli leader to the Persian Gulf nation since 1996, where he was welcomed by Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

News of Netanyahu’s trip made waves in Iranian media. Regardless of Iran’s turbulent relations with other Arab states, Oman has for years maintained warm and friendly ties with the Islamic Republic. As part of this posture, Muscat has remained neutral toward the political rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Thus, at a time when Israel and Saudi Arabia are more than ever before moving closer to each other, Oman’s welcoming of Netanyahu could have many different implications for Iran.

Despite the reactions in local media, Iranian officials have reacted cautiously to the visit. On Oct. 27, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, “Muslim states should not allow Tel Aviv to create further trouble for the region under pressures from the United States.”

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