By Javad Heirannia

Oman has intent to maintain mutually beneficial relations with Iran: Murphy

April 7, 2019

TEHRAN - Richard W. Murphy, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia, says the “Oman has long displayed skill in balancing its relationships in the area. Its leadership has not forgotten the help it received from Iran in confronting the domestic challenge to the Sultan's regime during the time of the Shah.”

“Oman has the capability and intent to maintain mutually beneficial relations with Iran,” Murphy tells the Tehran Times.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: The United States clinched a strategic port deal with Oman which U.S. officials say will allow the U.S. military better access the Persian Gulf region and reduce the need to send ships through the Strait of Hormuz, a maritime choke point off Iran. What is the importance of this deal for U.S. from strategic aspects?

A: The port deal with Oman is an example of the U.S. strategy to seek maximum flexibility for its deployments in potential crisis areas. It has had access to facilities in other member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council for several years but Oman's geography provides the unique attraction of a port presence near to the Persian Gulf which is not subject to the choke point which the Strait of Hormuz constitutes.

Q: Why Oman accept this deal on this time?

A: I am not familiar with the timing and the specifics of negotiations for this port deal but assume that once Oman had indicated it would consider such a deal, considerable time would have been required before it could be finalized. The issues involved in such agreements are always complicated.

Q: How can Oman balance its foreign policy with Iran and U.S. under this deal?

A: Oman has long displayed skill in balancing its relationships in the area. Its leadership has not forgotten the help it received from Iran in confronting the domestic challenge to the Sultan's regime during the time of the Shah. In recent times it has provided an indispensable setting for highly sensitive talks between Washington and Tehran on nuclear issues culminating in the JCPOA.

Q: Will this deal impact on Oman relation with Iran?

A: I am confident that Oman has the capability and intent to maintain mutually beneficial relations with Iran.  
 

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