Iranian president begins trip to Gulf seeking improved ties

Iran President, Hassan Rowhani

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani on Wednesday arrived in Oman on a trip which also takes him to Kuwait, aimed at mending Tehran’s strained ties with the Arab Gulf countries.

According to the report, Mr. Rowhani flew into Oman’s capital Muscat for a one-day visit and met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

It said that the two leaders reviewed “close” relations between Oman and Iran, and ways of further strengthening them.

Unlike other partners in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oman traditionally has warm ties with Iran.

In addition to Oman, the GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The Iranian leader will fly to Kuwait from Oman.

In January, Kuwait sent its foreign minister to Tehran with a message calling for improving links between Iran and Gulf countries, regional media reported at the time.

Mr. Rowhani said before leaving for Oman that Tehran welcomed the message delivered by the Kuwaiti government.

“The president said he is to hold talks with officials of two members of the Gulf Cooperation Council on issues of mutual interest,” the report said.

The mostly Sunni Gulf countries have repeatedly accused Shiite Iran of inciting unrest in their territory, an accusation that Tehran denies.

The Saudi-led GCC and Iran backs opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen.

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