Oman ‘helped’ clinch historic United States-Iran nuclear deal
July 14, 2015 | 8:50 PM
by Saleh Al Shaibany

Muscat: Oman’s decade long efforts as a peace broker working on the nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States has finally paid off with the six world powers sealing a deal with Tehran that could potentially transform the political scenario in the Middle East.

In Vienna yesterday, Iran concluded negotiations with US, Britain, France, and China, along with Russia and Germany. Speaking from the White House, US President Barack Obama claimed the deal meets “every single of the bottom is also a deal based not on trust but verifications.”

Diplomats in Muscat hailed the deal saying, Oman worked very hard behind the scenes to make it work and paved the way for breaking a long political standoff that would also open vast economic opportunities as well.

“It has been nearly ten years that Oman has been involved as a major mediator between Iran and the US. Oman has pulled in other superpowers to help reach a fair settlement for both sides. It was not easy, but Oman can consider this a triumph and a reward for its hard work that will lead not just to world peace but immense economic gains in the region,” a western diplomat based in Muscat, who did not want to be identified, told the Times of Oman.

Under the deal agreed upon yesterday, economic sanctions imposed by the US, European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) would be lifted in return for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

Reaching a deal is a major policy victory for both Obama and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist elected two years ago on a vow to reduce the diplomatic isolation of a country of 77 million people.

Economic jackpot

Local economists said that the implementation of the successful settlements would mean Iran would be allowed to trade again with its international partners and Oman and its regional allies would be the biggest beneficiaries.

“Oman particularly would hit the jackpot with the lifting of sanctions in Iran. We are its closest neighbours. Maritime trade between us would receive an enormous boost. We will also have huge access to the vast Iranian natural resources, particularly oil and gas and minerals. Retail business in livestock, fish, spices and items of clothing will be another benefit. But it is not just Oman, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will also hugely benefit as well from the opening of trade in the region,” said Ahmed Al Habsi, economic analyst at Capital Investment Company.

Business people and traders in Oman rejoiced at the news of the lifting of sanctions against Iran, saying the action would mean the expansion of their trades and removal of restrictions.

“Iran is an important market for us. Now we will have exchanges in trade freely without fear of breaking the law. Business had been bad since the start of the sanctions for us because we could not import or export from Iran. It will also eliminate a lot of illegal trade in the Strait of Hormuz and save Oman’s police a lot of headache policing this stretch of water,” Mohammed Fayaydh, a Muscat-based trader told the Times Of Oman.

Musandam, the region in northern Oman would benefit most, said traders in that area, because of its proximity to Iran.

“Business in Musandam will receive a tremendous boost. It will revive the economy in the towns of this region like Khasab and Dibba. Musandam is the first entry and export areas to Iran and the resumption of business between the two countries will generate a lot of wealth in northern Oman as a whole,” said Ismail Al Maskeen, a businessman based in Musandam.

Currently, local police run patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz to stop illegal exports and imports between Oman and Iran. Inspectors from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry conduct regular inspections in shops to make sure Iranian goods are not traded in the Sultanate to comply with international sanctions imposed by the UN.

“Very soon, all the policing and such trade inspections will be eliminated,” said Al Maskeen.

Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a tweet said congratulations to the diplomatic community on all sides for the great efforts in reaching historic win-win accord on Iran nuclear issue.

Reporter canbe reached at [email protected]

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