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Zarif meets Omani counterpart in possible sign of mediation effort

Zarif meets Omani counterpart
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met with Yusuf bin Alawi, his counterpart from Oman - a neutral country that in the past has acted as a facilitator of talks between Tehran and Washington.

The July 27 visit of the Omani official comes as tensions continue to rise between Tehran and the United States and its allies around the Strait of Hormuz, a vital commercial waterway in the Arabian Gulf region.

Oman in the past has initiated mediation efforts and has said it was working “with other parties” to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran.

"There is a danger that a war breaks out, hurting the whole world," Alawi said. "Both parties - the Americans and the Iranians - are aware of the danger."

However, neither Iran nor Oman said that any mediation efforts are under way.

Fears of an armed conflict have risen following a series of incidents in the region, including attacks on Western oil tankers off the coast of Oman, a country of 4.6 million people located across the strait from Iran.

No injuries were reported in those attacks, but vessels were damaged, and the United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran and its proxies for the attacks. Tehran has denied any involvement.

Following those incidents, Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19, two weeks after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.

Britain said it acted near Gibraltar because the Iranian tanker Grace 1 was busting sanctions by delivering oil to Syria. Iran claimed it seized the British-flagged tanker after it hit an Iranian fishing boat.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on July 24 hinted that Tehran was open to a possible tanker swap with Britain and to indirect talks with the United States over its nuclear program and US-imposed sanctions against Tehran.

After meeting the Omani diplomat, Zarif tweeted that the session dealt with the effects of the US' "economic terrorism" on Iran, bilateral relations, regional developments, and security in the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
Last Modified: Monday، 29 July 2019 12:40 AM