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Iran, Oman to hold joint military drill, create new shipping route

April 17, 2019 at 2:50 pm

President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani (R) shakes hands with Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah (L) at the Presidency Palace in Tehran, Iran on 12 July 2017 [Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Iran and Oman will be holding joint military exercises within the coming days, in an effort to build relations.

Speaking at a meeting in Muscat consisting of 120 representatives from Iran’s business and economic sectors, the Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Reza Nouri Shahroudi announced that “currently, our joint military committee is present in Oman, and we will hold a joint manoeuvre in the coming days.”

Yesterday’s meeting took place on the sidelines of the annual gathering of the Omani-Iranian joint military commission which started on Sunday and was held at the venue of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Sultanate of Oman.

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The two counties also plan to create a new shipping route by the end of April, without naming the ports which would be linked through the new line. This would be the fifth direct shipping line between the two regional neighbours.

Shahroudi stated that the expansion of maritime transportation between Iran and Oman would boost trade and mutual economic interactions, citing the recent increase of direct flights between the two countries from 20 to 48 per week. According to the ambassador, Iran’s trade with Oman also reached $700 million in an 11-month period during 2018-2019, of which around $250 million consisted of Iran’s imports from the Sultanate.

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The recent strengthening of relations between Iran and Oman come at a time when the Arab Gulf state seems to be expanding its diplomatic influence more than it had done in previous years. Last year, Omani Sultan Qaboos Ibn Said met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the first open visit between the two states, causing bewilderment in diplomatic circles. Oman’s overtures towards Iran, however, could put it in opposition to its more influential Arab neighbours; Saudi Arabia and the UAE.