On Sunday, the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al-Said, became the first head of an Arab state to meet Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. Jeffrey Feltman, the political chief of the United Nations, also arrived in Tehran on Monday, to have talks with Iran’s new foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
According to western media, both Qaboos and Feltman are in Tehran to discuss the troublesome events in Arab countries, mainly in Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and Lebanon. However, some local and foreign political analyst believe that both are in Tehran to set a stage for a direct Tehran-Washington negotiations.
“It can be guessed that Sultan Qaboos’ trip to Iran mean that afterward his country, instead of playing the role of mediator in relations to Iran and America, wants to play the role of host for these two countries with regard to negotiations,” Qassem Mohebali, an Iranian analyst wrote in the Bahar newspaper on Sunday.
Hassan Rouhani has said he is ready to hold “serious” talks with the major powers without delay to allay Western fear of Iran’s nuclear program. Obama, too, has shown his interest to have dialogue with the “moderate” president Rouhani. However, Netanyahu says he doesn’t trust Rouhani, whom he called Ahmadinejad in “sheep clothing”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, however, denied any knowledge of such an agenda for the visit while speaking to reporters after the sultan’s arrival.
“We are not aware if the sultan of Oman is conveying a message,” Zarif said. “We are ready to discuss various issues he might be interested in raising.”
Sultan Qaboos took power in a 1970 military coup against his father, Sultan Sa`id bin Taymur. Qaboos has maintained good relations with Iran, USA and Israel. He avoided to take sides during the bloody 8-year Iraq-Iran war, sponsored by the western colonial powers. Oman was one of the three Arab states which did not break diplomatic relations with Egypt after Anwar Sadat recognized the Jewish occupation of Palestine in 1979. Qaboos also signed the 1980 Facilities Access Agreement, with the United States, which allows Pentagon to use Omani territory in war with its neighbors. Qaboos’ first visit to the Islamic Republic was in 2009.
Qaboos negotiated the release of three American Jewish spies ( Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd) from Iranian jail in 2010. In 1994, Qaboos invited an Israeli government delegation to attend a conference on water desalinization. Later Qaboos hosted Zionist prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (killed in 1995) – the first public visit by an Israeli leader to an Arab Gulf state.
In May, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, whose both grandparents were Jewish, visited Oman and other Arab states in the Persian Gulf region to push for the creation of an integrated defense network against the alleged threat posed by Iran to Israel.
Jeffrey Feltman is a former US ambassador to Lebanon and US Assisstant Secretary of State for Near Estern Affairs. He holds US-Israel dual citizenship and very much allergic to Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah, which he has been trying to undermine since Hizbullah defeated Israel in 2006. Last year, Feltman along with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon attended the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in Tehran and even met Iran’s Spiritual Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei.
In March 2012 – at a reception at the US Capitol’s Cannon Office Building, Jeffrey Feltman, appearing before a gathering of the right-wing pro-Israel-Saudi ‘Lebanese American Organization’ was undiplomatically aggressive. In fact Feltman unloaded vitriol on Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and anyone who even looked like they might support resistance to US-Israel Middle East hegemony. He instructed Lebanese voters, in no uncertain terms, what he expected of them:
“The Lebanese people must join together to tell Hezbollah and its allies that the Lebanese state will no longer be hijacked for an Iranian-Syrian agenda“.
Feltman’s issue with Assad regime is Damascus’ support for both Hizbullah and Hamas. He wants a pro-USrael regime change in Damascus, so the Jewish army can finish off Hizbullah as a military force against the Zionist entity.
On Sunday, Tehran warned the US-Israel-Saudi ‘Axis of Evil’ not to cross the “red-line” in Syria. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Abbas Araqchi, said that Iran and Russia have the proof that recent chemical weapons used near Damascus was the work of foreign-funded anti-Assad rebels.