“Oman FM’s Tehran Trip Unrelated to Mattis’ Muscat Visit”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman has dismissed media speculations that a trip by Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi to Tehran was in connection with an Oman visit by US Defence Secretary James Mattis last Sunday.

“The trip of Mr. Bin Alawi was made according to the schedule and to [help] develop bilateral ties,” said Bahram Qassemi in a Saturday statement.

Bin Alawi arrived in Tehran late Friday to hold talks with Iranian officials.

The spokesman said a constructive atmosphere prevails Tehran-Muscat relations and the two countries are eager to strengthen bonds of friendship.

“During the visit, he will meet the governor of the Central Bank of Iran and managers of governmental and private firms, in addition to political and parliamentary officials,” he said.

Qassemi said the trip is unrelated to an Oman trip by US Defence Secretary James Mattis last Sunday and the developments regarding the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Oman is an independent country that enjoys good relations with many countries. However, Mr Bin Alawi’s trip to Tehran has nothing to do with these issues,” he said.

During his visit to Muscat, Mattis discussed US concerns, particularly those related to the Yemen conflict, with Sultan Qaboos.

Since 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a Saudi military campaign, which Riyadh says aims to push Houti fighters out of the Yemen capital Sana’a and restore to power the fugitive president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The US, a staunch ally of Saudis in the war, has accused Iran of trafficking weapons through Oman to Houthi fighters.

Oman, traditionally on friendly terms with Iran, has often sought to play the role of a mediator in disputes between Tehran and Western capitals.

In 2013, Muscat hosted talks between Iran and Western powers that led to the landmark July 2015 deal.

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