Dubai: Oman’s foreign minister has said there may be direct talks between the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iran by the end of the year in the aftermath of a historic nuclear deal that was signed between Iran and world powers.
In an interview on state television that was broadcast on Tuesday, Yousuf Bin Alawi, Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, said the deal would herald the beginning of a phase defined by a “culture of peace” among the states of the region.
The deal, struck Tuesday between Iran and six world powers after marathon negotiations in the Austrian capital, is meant to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability in exchange for sanctions relief. According to the deal, key economic sanctions would be lifted once Iran implements restrictions on its nuclear programme.
He said an agreement between Iran and Gulf states was possible in which no side would come out defeated.
“It is possible that by the end of the year, there will be direct talks between the states of the GCC and Iran, as well as other parties … to entrench the idea of security and stability in the region. This can be achieved with a clear agreement in which no one [comes out] defeated…,” he said.
Bin Alawi, who has in the past played down Oman’s role in facilitating initial talks between Iran and the US, told the interviewer that Oman’s good relations with all the parties involved and its ability to build trust between them played an important role in bringing about a conclusion to the deal.
“The entire process from the first phase to the end was centred on one foundation, which was the sultanate’s ability, [with] its distinguished relations with all parties, …. to establish trust between the parties. Without trust, it wouldn’t have been possible to reach this agreement. The role of the sultanate was, at the top levels, to build trust between the leaderships of these countries and Iran,” he said.
Oman hosted secret talks between American and Iranian officials in 2013. The discussions were kept hidden even from America’s closest allies in the region, including the Gulf states and the Israeli regime.
Bin Alawi speculated that the nuclear deal would start a process through which other conflicts in the region could be solved, including those in Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Yemen.
“This is the beginning of an international political movement to solve all the rest of the problems in the region and beyond, but it needs patience in how to deal with these issues … this will establish a political, diplomatic dialogue between all the regional parties to solve all the other issues: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine with the spirit of this agreement."