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Iran Asks Oman to Offer Nuclear Deal Compromise to US

Islamic Republic Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif put this proposal to the Omanis during a “working visit” to Oman for talks with his Omani counterpart Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah.

US President Trump has claimed that Iran violated the spirit of the deal and is reportedly planning to refer the whole issue of the nuclear deal to the US Congress, ending the suspension of sanctions against Iran.

One of Trump’s objections to the deal is that the it includes “sunset clauses” that end sanctions on Iran in periods of between 10 to 30 years. In the new Iranian formula, the “sunset” clause will link the lifting of sanctions to certified performance by Iran.

Trump’s second objection is that Tehran has refused to ratify the Additional Protocols to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), which keeps options open for a full resumption of the military aspects of its nuclear project. Zarif is offering to fast-track additional protocols through the Islamic Majlis, the Iranian parliament, before March 2018 when Iran and the P5+1 foreign ministers are due to hold a “revision conference” to assess mutual performance.

Another Trump objection is the exclusion of Iran’s missile development project from the deal, which ignores resolutions passed by the United Nations’ Security Council. To compromise, Iran will provide for arbitration on the issue, allowing Iran to continue its project, but offering guarantees that the missiles it develops will not be designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Zarif said that if the US wants “stringent inspection” of Iranian nuclear sites to continue, it must continue to abide by the terms of the nuclear deal. He said the US “could be sure Iran would ratify the Additional Protocols.”

He also renewed Iran’s offer of cooperation in the fight against ISIS and suggested that Iran’s regional policies be separated from the nuclear issue.

Zarif said that despite Iran’s overtures, chances of the US remaining committed to the nuclear deal were “50-50”, and added that Tehran already had contingency plans to deal with any outcome.

Trump’s deadline for notifying Congress is October 15, so there is only a narrow window of opportunity for any mediation by the Omanis.

Iran and Oman have signed a security accord and demarcated their continental shelf in the Gulf of Oman. According to Amir Taheri, former executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan, in his article for Asharq Al-Awsat, “Oman has also offered ‘mooring rights’ to the Iranian Navy, enabling it to expand its active presence right down to the Gulf of Hauf and the Gulf of Aden. Tehran now wants the accord ‘deepened’ to include joint operations against terrorist threats, piracy and human-trafficking in the region. The establishment of a daily direct shipping line between the Iranian port of Chahbahar and the Omani capital Muscat is expected to facilitate security and trade cooperation.”

Sources in Tehran say that Zarif’s next visit is to Qatar, where he is expected to propose the creation of “joint organs” in a number of areas, including environmental protection, as well as combating drug trafficking and smuggling.

In recent weeks, both Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani have attempted to ease tension with their Gulf neighbors. However, it is not clear whether if Islamic Republic’s stance is endorsed by the “Supreme Guide” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on all issues.


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