Iran is rapidly become a key element in Oman’s economic and political future. On Wednesday 15th February 2017 Iranian President Rouhani will pay a brief visit to Sultan Qaboos in the morning before flying to Kuwait, which is the next chair of the GCC. Both Oman and Kuwait have important Shia Muslim populations, in Kuwait these are focused in business; my employer in Saudi whose family is Shia being perhaps the largest private company in Kuwait.
Reports in many media including separately by Reuters and Bloomberg say that Oman is joining the Saudi-led ‘Islamic alliance against terror’. This alliance is widely assumed a force lead by Saudi Arabia against Iran, despite any doubt suggested by its name.
In what must be one of the more intriguing diplomatic agreements in recent years – Oman, UAE and Iran seem to have made various agreements regarding territory . The Christmas Eve visit by Sheikh Mohammed Al Nahyen into Oman may have been the critical discussion period between Oman and the UAE.
Walking into the Shah ‘Abbas exhibition in the British Museum’s Reading Room was almost a sense of ‘déjà vu’ as the very English Sir Robert Sherley & wife Teresia gaze down as they did in the Tate’s ‘Lure of the East’ exhibition last year .
This time they were not included because of the gorgeous costumes but for Robert Sherley’s role as Persian Ambassador from Shah ‘Abbas to various European Courts .
In 2007 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which of course has a very Persian flavour to it with the style of Shah Abbas’s dynasty throughout the interior of the building.
As Sultan Qaboos seems to like Persian art he will enjoy his visit to Iran this month. Perhaps the visit by the Omani Minister of Tourism in May to Homs and other Iranian cities was a build up to this visit – one trusts that the current political uncertainty will not affect His Majesty’s visit.