News ID: 102928
Publish Date : 23 May 2022 - 21:52
President Raisi Takes Economic Diplomacy to Muscat

MUSCAT -- Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi visited Oman on Monday as the two countries signed a string of trade deals.
Raisi, on his second Persian Gulf visit since taking office in August, was greeted by Sultan Haitham bin Tareq at the airport and received a 21-gun salute at the royal palace, an Omani statement said.
Raisi’s one-day trip comes at a time when renewed talks on restoring a 2015 nuclear deal are at a stalemate. Oman played a mediating role between Tehran and Washington in the build-up to the original agreement.
The countries signed 12 memoranda of understanding during the visit, including in the fields of oil and gas, transport, education, trade and investment, reported the official Oman News Agency.
“Trade exchanges between the two countries of Oman and Iran will improve definitely,” Raisi said before departure, according to Iran’s official news agency IRNA. “Both countries are determined to upgrade the level of political and economic ties,” he added.
A delegation of 50 Iranian businessmen travelled to Oman last week, IRNA said, adding that Iran’s minister for roads and urban development has announced plans for a joint shipping line and tourist flights.
Oman is also seeking to import gas from Iran by building an offshore pipeline between the two countries, who are discussing the development of joint gas fields offshore.
Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji said Monday Iran and Oman have agreed to form a committee to jointly develop the Hengam oilfield, which straddles both countries’ sea border.
In 2005, both countries signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop the Hengam oil field but the agreement did not materialize and Iran decided to develop the field independently in 2012.
“As the first basis of my talks with Omani Oil Minister Muhammad bin Hamad Al-Rumhi, it was agreed to form a joint technical committee to develop the next phases of the Hengam oil field in a seamless manner
between Iran and Oman,” Owji said.
“Joint exploitation, in contrast to competitive exploitation, will be mutually beneficial to both countries as this method leads to less damage to the reservoir and allows for more extraction,” the oil minister added.
Last week, IRNA reported that Owji had agreed to revive a long-stalled project to lay an undersea pipeline to carry gas to Oman.
The project dates back to 2013 when the two countries signed a deal, valued at $60 billion over 25 years, for Iran to supply gas to Oman through an undersea pipeline.
The sultanate, which faces Iran across the Gulf of Oman, endured economic pain during the pandemic, with its GDP dropping 6.4 percent in 2020 and government debt soaring.
Raisi visited Qatar in February, where he met with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and took part in a conference of gas exporting countries.
The visit to Oman was President Raisi’s fifth since taking office in August as part of his “economic diplomacy”. The president has called for strengthening regional bonds especially in the Persian Gulf region.
Last year, Iran’s trade with Oman stood at $1.3 billion. Raeisi, however, said in Tehran before leaving for Muscat that this volume of trade did not reflect their full potentials in various sectors of economy.

* Comment: