DESPARDES News Monitor — The foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday as tensions rise between the Islamic Republic and the United States and its Gulf allies.
Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah discussed regional and international issues with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian state news agency IRNA said. However, IRNA gave no details and it was not known if the visit was aimed at calming Iran-U.S. tensions.
A Gulf Arab state that – unusually – maintains friendly ties with both the United States and Iran, Oman has previously been an important go-between for the two countries that severed diplomatic relations in 1980. Washington and Tehran are in a protracted stand-off over Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
Ordered by the White House to the Persian Gulf, the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier is on its way to the Gulf.
So far, the Lincoln and its accompanying ships have yet to enter the gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. It has been filmed by the U.S. Navy on Friday carrying out exercises with other American warships in the Arabian Sea, which is over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away.
While U.S. military officials aren’t publicly explaining the delay, it may be to calm nerves before the ships pass through the strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway where Iran often shadows American vessels.
Iran has threatened to close the strait if it is unable to sell its own crude oil to the global market as a result of the U.S. pressure campaign following Washington’s withdrawal a year ago from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!,” Trump said on social media.
He tweeted today to deny that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran. “This is a false report….”, he tweeted.
He added, “….Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready. In the meantime, their economy continues to collapse – very sad for the Iranian people!”