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Iran’s Rouhani administration gets first visit from foreign leader: Oman’s Sultan Qaboos

It’s the first visit from a foreign head of state since Iran's President Hassan Rouhani took office.

Iran hassan rouhani nuclear talks 2005 deal chiracEnlarge
Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani waves as he attends a press conference in Tehran on June 17, 2013. Rouhani expressed hope that Iran can reach a new agreement with major powers over its disputed nuclear program, saying a deal should be reached through more transparency and mutual trust. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

The leader of Oman, Sultan Qaboos, is visiting Iran for three days to discuss bilateral and international affairs.

It’s the first visit from a foreign head of state since moderate President Hassan Rouhani took office on Aug. 3.

Qaboos is scheduled to meet Rouhani, clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

In the past, Oman, which maintains friendly ties with both the United States and Iran, has served as a mediator for the two nations. The US and Iran ended diplomatic relations in 1980.

Iranian daily newspaper Bahar speculated that the sultan could bring up the possibility of Iran decreasing uranium enrichment activity in exchange for an easing of financial sanctions imposed by the US and Europe.

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"Oman is one of the few Arab countries with which Iran has had consistent and regular good relations," Mehran Kamrava, director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University in Qatar, told Reuters. "Whether the Sultan of Oman is bearing a message or not is something we won't know until somewhat later, but certainly countries like Oman could play a very important intermediary role between Iran and the United States."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran had no indication if Qaboos would be bringing a message from the White House.

"We are not aware that the Sultan of Oman will be carrying a particular message for our country," Zarif said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/130825/iran-s-rouhani-administration-gets-first-visit-foreign