Iran's Zarif hosts Omani counterpart amid Gulf tensions

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a meeting with Oman's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Tehran on July 27, 2019.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a meeting with Oman's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Tehran on July 27, 2019.
Image: ATTA KENARE / AFP

Iran's top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif hosted his Omani counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi in Tehran on Saturday, his office said, amid mounting tensions in the region between Tehran and Washington.

The talks between Zarif and Bin Alawi centred on the "latest regional and international issues", the foreign ministry said in a brief statement posted on its Telegram channel.

Oman has maintained good relations with Iran throughout successive regional crises, allowing it at times to play a key mediating role, including with the United States.

Tensions in the Gulf have soared since last year when President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on the country.

In retaliation, Iran said in May it would disregard certain limits the deal set on its nuclear programme and threatened to take further measures if remaining parties to the deal, especially European nations, did not help it circumvent US sanctions.

Tensions have escalated further in the region with a string of incidents involving tankers and drones.

The United States and Gulf powerhouse Saudi Arabia accused Iran of being behind multiple attacks on tankers in the Gulf in June, which Iran denies.

On July 19, a British-flagged tanker was impounded by Iran's Revolutionary Guards with its 23 crew aboard in the Strait of Hormuz.

The seizure was seen by London as a tit-for-tat move for British authorities detaining an Iranian tanker off the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar in early July.

Oman has called for the release of the UK-flagged Stena Impero and for London and Tehran to resolve their dispute diplomatically.

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