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Oman Offers to Help Defuse Regional Tensions

Oman Offers to Help Defuse Regional Tensions Oman Offers to Help Defuse Regional Tensions

As a Persian Gulf state with friendly relations with all regional countries, Oman is willing to play the role of a facilitator in defusing tensions with Iran, but refuses to act as a mediator, the country's top diplomat said.  
"We are not playing the role of mediator. What we choose for ourselves is the role of facilitator," Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said in an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. 
Tensions have escalated in the already volatile Middle East since May after several attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. 
The United States, which had already launched a pressure campaign against Tehran after quitting the 2015 nuclear deal, has blamed Iran, calling on allies and partners to form a maritime security coalition in the strategic waters to protect shipping lines.  
The situation worsened after the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, which Riyadh and Washington have both blamed on Iran although the Yemeni Houthi fighters have claimed the assault. 
Britain, France and Germany also backed the US with regard to the accusation and urged Tehran to agree to new talks with world powers on its nuclear and missile programs and regional security issues.  
Iran has denied any involvement in the incident and declared that it would not discuss its defense programs with any country. It has also refused to renegotiate the deal on its nuclear program, despite expressing willingness to hold talks with world powers on other areas of concern in case they adhered to the existing agreement. 
To help improve regional security, President Hassan Rouhani has recently proposed a coalition dubbed "Hope" (Hormuz Peace Endeavor), inviting all Persian Gulf states as well as the United Nations to work together to guarantee regional security. 
Rouhani unveiled the plan during his address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
Bin Alawi refused to definitively outline his country's approach to the plan since the details have not been put out yet, but said, "If the theme and base of that [plan] is based on stability, of course, we will support it."

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