Peacemaker meets Peacekeeper

The Diwan of Oman’s Royal Court confirmed the visit, saying in a statement that Sultan Haitham will pay a two-day official visit to Iran at the invitation of Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi. 
“The visit stems from the fruitful relations and good neighborliness between the two countries,” the statement said, adding, “His Majesty’s visit comes within the context of the continuous consultation and coordination between the two leaderships to discuss various developments at the regional and international arenas. The visit will also touch on means of promoting cooperation between Oman and Iran in different spheres to serve their current and future interests and aspirations.”
During his visit to Iran, Sultan Haitham will be accompanied by a large delegation including Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Affairs; Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal Al Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court; Gen. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nu’amani, Minister of the Royal Office; Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Foreign Minister; Sultan bin Salim Al Habsi, Minister of Finance; Hamad bin Said Al Aufi, Head of the Private Office; Abdussalam bin Mohammed Al Murshidi, Chairman of Oman Investment Authority; Qais bin Mohammed Al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion; Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi, Minister of Energy and Minerals; Vice Admiral Abdullah bin Khamis Al Ra’eesi, Chief of Staff of the Sultan’s Armed Forces; ambassador at large Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Hinai; and Ibrahim bin Ahmed Al Mu’aini, Ambassador of Oman to Iran, according to the statement. 
On Friday, Oman flexed its diplomatic muscles again by brokering a landmark swap deal between Iran and Belgium. The foreign ministry of Oman announced that “in compliance with the directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to fulfill the requests of the Iranian and Belgian governments to assist in resolving the issue of detained citizens in both countries, the Omani efforts have resulted in an agreement between the two sides for a mutual exchange deal.”
The deal resulted in the release of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi and Belgian prisoner Olivier Vandecasteele via Oman. 
The exchange of prisoners once again highlighted the high level of mutual trust between Tehran and Muscat, which enabled Oman to act as a go-between in many regional and international matters. 
Oman was the initial birthplace of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It hosted secret talks between Iranian and American officials, years before the JCPOA was signed in Vienna. The revival of this deal could be on the agenda of Sultan Haitham. But while Oman is genuinely ingenious in its effort to bring the JCPOA back to life, the resuscitation of the deal remains unlikely due to the procrastination on the part of the US and Europe. 
Also, Oman hosted secret talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia which also culminated in a Chinese-brokered deal between Tehran and Riyadh in March. In addition, Oman has also been a conduit for talks in Yemen. 
Most recently, Oman reportedly embarked on patching up relations between Iran and Egypt. And the Sultan of Oman is expected to continue this mediation in Tehran after visiting Cairo last week. 
Last but not least, Sultan Haitham could also broach the issue of Ukraine, something that is indicative of the diversity of issues he will likely discuss in Tehran. 
The scope of Sultan Haitham’s agenda is another sign of the deep trust between Tehran and Muscat. Iranian Ambassador to Oman Ali Najafi highlighted this trust. Commenting on the Omani-brokered swap deal, Najafi wrote on Twitter, “Trust is a valuable asset in relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Sultanate of Oman. We value the good wishes and good offices of the Sultanate of Oman.”
By: Faramarz Kuhpayeh 
First published in Tehran Times 

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