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Iran, Oman Agree to Set Strategic Cooperation Document

By Nigar Bayramli May 30, 2023

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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi held a meeting with Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said in Tehran, on May 29, 2023. / Leader.ir

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Omani Sultan Haitham bin Tariq have agreed to set a strategic cooperation document between the two countries in various fields that enhance mutual benefits.

In a statement on May 29, at the end of the sultan’s two-day official visit to Tehran, the two leaders expressed satisfaction regarding the increase in trade exchanges and investments, according to the official website of the Iranian president.

“They welcomed the signing of agreements and memoranda of understanding in economic, commercial, transit, investment, energy and cultural fields and the need to activate the existing agreements between the two countries and cooperate to reach new agreements that serve common interests,” the statement said.

They also emphasized the constructive role of the private sector of the two countries in developing the horizons of economic cooperation.

President Raisi said at the meeting of high-ranking delegations of Iran and Oman that relations between the two countries were enhanced from the commercial stage to the investment stage.

He named the capacities and potentials of the two countries in industry, trade, communications, defense and security, road and rail lines, maritime transport and transit, financial and monetary exchanges, and energy, among others as suitable areas for expanding cooperation.

For his part, the Omani sultan said that after Raisi's visit to Muscat, the level of bilateral relations and regional cooperation between the two countries had enhanced significantly.

He added that although the volume of trade exchanges has doubled, given the diverse potentials and grounds in the two countries, the two sides have a long way to go to enhance the relations to a favored level.

During the Omani delegation’s visit, the two sides signed four documents in the fields of trade, transport, investment and energy on May 28. The Ministers of Oil and Economic Affairs and Finance and the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Free Commercial-Industrial and Special Economic Zones from Iran and the Ministers of Energy, Economy and Trade of Oman signed the joint cooperation documents of the two countries.

The two sides signed an agreement on their joint study on the shared Hengam oil field in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf. This is the first agreement on cooperation between the two countries in a shared field. However, this agreement has yet to include the field development, as the development contract is pending and will be signed after the preparation of the Master Development Plan (MDP) for the joint oil field. 

The value of Iranian-Omani bilateral trade was $1.3 billion in the Iranian calendar year 1400 (ended March 2022), which rose to $1.8 billion in the past Iranian year 1401 (ended March 2023), according to Shahla Amouri, Deputy Chairman of Iran-Oman Joint Chamber of Commerce.

She added that Iran’s export to Oman rose to $1.2 billion in the past year, from $600 million in the preceding year.

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq’s visit to Iran follows his trip to Cairo, linked to Oman's mediation between Egypt and Iran as part of rapprochement talks.

At a meeting with the Omani leader on May 29, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei welcomed a potential reopening of diplomatic ties with Egypt saying, "We have no issues in this regard". 

Ties with Egypt have remained cut off for the larger part of the past four decades following the inception of the Islamic Republic in 1979. But recent mediation by Oman could see normalization between the two countries.

Over the past decade, Oman has been engaged in resolving long-standing issues between Iran and its rivals or enemies. Most notably, the Omani leadership played mediator between Tehran and Washington in 2013, laying the foundation for marathon talks that culminated in the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 

Last week, Oman also helped Belgium and Iran implement a prisoner swap deal that secured the release of an Iranian diplomat serving a 20-year jail term in Brussels over terror charges in exchange for a Belgian aid worker whom Iran had convicted of espionage and sentenced to 40 years. On May 25, Iran released Belgian national Olivier Vandecasteele, who had been detained in the country since February 2022, in exchange for the release of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, in a deal mediated by Oman.