Oman FM in Washington 'trying to reduce Iran-US tensions'

Oman FM in Washington 'trying to reduce Iran-US tensions'
Oman's foreign affairs head met with the US defence secretary in Washington with the intention of de-escalating tensions between the US and Iran and mediating between the two adversaries
2 min read
29 July, 2018
Jim Mattis with Oman's Foreign Minister Mattis and Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah [Getty]
Oman's effective Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah was in Washington this week holding meetings with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, reportedly with the intention of trying to de-escalate tensions between the US and Iran, according to Qatar's al-Arab newspaper.

A statement released by Oman's ministry of foreign affairs on Twitter said the meeting had addressed the "exceptional" relations between the two countries, including defence ties.

It quoted Mattis as saying: "Oman is a vital regional security partner for the United States."

The meeting between the two officials came just one day after Yusuf bin Alawi met with senior Iranian militia commander Qassem Soleimani, who on Thursday threatened that Tehran was "ready" for war with Washington.

The Iranian foreign minister visited Oman last week, confirming that Tehran is seeking to use Muscat as a mediator in resolving the current crisis between the two adversaries.

Iran also wants Muscat to open a channel of communication with the US, in a similar fashion to 2013 which paved the way for the landmark nuclear talks in 2015.

Mattis told reporters on Friday that the US was not pursuing a policy of regime change or collapse in Iran, signalling an attempt to quell the escalating threats of war issued by President Donald Trump and the Iranian leadership.

Iran and the US have been trading barbs for several weeks amid the fallout of US President Trump reneging the nuclear deal and reimposing crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

With the rial in freefall, thousands of Iranians have been taking to the streets to protest their anger over the economic crisis, living standards and shortages of necessities. Such issues are set to escalate with the onset of the US sanctions later this year.