Iran praises Oman's role in landmark nuclear deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif holds a press conference at the Iranian embassy in Muscat following meetings with Omani officials

Muscat - 

Iran's Foreign Minister on Monday praised Oman's role in paving the way for last month's negotiations between Iran and world powers that led to a landmark nuclear deal. "We expressed our appreciation for the very central and positive role that the sultanate had played in facilitating these talks," Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters during a press conference in Muscat, a day after he met His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

"His Majesty's visit [in August] to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the meetings he held with His Eminence [Iran's] Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani opened a new chapter for the sultanate... of playing a constructive role in resolving and settling international and regional problems," he said.

"I was here to brief His Majesty the Sultan and my [Omani] colleagues about the development on the nuclear issue as well as on other regional and international issues and exchange views with them," Zarif said before leaving for Qatar on Monday morning.

While acknowledging the key role Oman played in breaking the ice between Iranian and US interlocutors in nuclear talks, Zarif stressed that the sultanate is not only one of Iran's 'closest neighbours' but also among its 'closest friends'.

"Oman is a very dear neighbour of Iran," Zarif said, "The role of the sultanate in the region is highly respected by the international community. We will continue to cooperate and Oman will have a central role in our regional and international cooperation."

Emphasising that Iran views nuclear weapons as 'something illegal, unethical and inhuman', Zarif said, "We see the race towards possessing the nuclear weapon on the international and regional level as a form of suicide."

Allaying the fears of neighbours in the Gulf, the Iranian Foreign Minister said, "We are not in need for the nuclear weapon to protect our national security.... We believe that relations with countries in the region should be built through mutual trust, enhancement of ties of friendship, joint cooperation, and the commonalities shared by the peoples of the region."

The Foreign Minister added that the nuclear deal – spearheaded by the US and agreed upon by Russia, UK, China, France and Germany - has offered a unique opportunity for America to build that trust and confidence.

"Now that we've had the election in Iran, we have provided this opportunity to the entire international community... to deal with Iran from a position of mutual respect and mutual interest and equal footing. If the US takes advantage of this opportunity to restore that confidence, then we would have come a long way. Otherwise I think the confidence will be further damaged," he said.

Iran open to nuclear cooperation

Iran's foreign minister has said that his country is open to civilian nuclear cooperation with its neighbours, including oman.

"Iran's nuclear technology is available for peaceful purposes to our neighbours. There are various possibilities for cooperation in this arena," Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

"We have not had such a discussion with our omani friends but if the sultanate shows interest, we ourselves will be prepared to engage in discussions... from regional framework of cooperation on nuclear fuel production to other possibilities. Iran is open to all these possibilities."

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