Oman’s foreign minister said he was optimistic all parties would return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and that his country was prepared to facilitate regional discussions with Tehran.
“I’m optimistic all parties will return to this framework,” Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Albusaidi said in an online panel hosted by the Atlantic Council Thursday, referring to the deal between Iran and world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“Oman has supported the inclusion of Iran on issues of common regional concern and the JCPOA provides a vital step on which to build such dialog.”
A close ally of the U.S., Oman also maintains good ties with Iran, playing a longstanding role as mediator on regional and international issues. Its geographical position on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes makes its stability important to Gulf states and international allies alike.
Albusaidi, who was appointed foreign minister last year, welcomed the Biden administration’s moves to resume multilateral cooperation on climate change and Covid-19 vaccination, as well as efforts to end the war in Yemen and revive the Iran agreement.
Asked whether Oman was ready to facilitate the resumption of U.S. dialog with Iran, he said: “Our offices are always ready to assist but I think there is already an availability of direct contacts should both countries choose to take that route.”
Albusaidi said he was optimistic Gulf Arab nations would be able to put the 3 1/2-year rift with Qatar behind them following last month’s agreement. The dispute with Qatar had centered on accusations that it was bankrolling militant groups and undermining attempts to isolate Iran, whose regional influence and nuclear ambitions its neighbors fear. Doha denies the charges.
His comments appeared to echo a call by Qatar’s foreign minister last month for Gulf Arab countries to engage with Iran.
“By maintaining open channels of communication we can build understanding, we can compromise, we can accommodate,” he said. “There is a commitment on our part and a capacity for listening, for facilitating, should others find our approach helpful.”