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Iranian FM to begin trip to Oman, Qatar Monday

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is to take a two-day trip to Oman and Qatar on Monday, in line with Tehran's policy of holding continuous bilateral and regional consultations.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi made the announcement on Sunday, saying the top diplomat was to go on the trip over the next two days, Fars News Agency reported.

Meeting with the Arab countries’ foreign ministers and other ranking officials, Zarif is to discuss bilateral affairs and the latest regional and international developments, Qassemi added.

President Hassan Rouhani visited Oman in February as part of a regional tour aimed at improving relations with the Persian Gulf Arab countries and discussing the latest regional developments.

The visit, which was followed by a July trip to Tehran by Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, came in the wake of tensions between the Islamic Republic and some of the littoral states, most notably Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom broke off its ties with Iran in January 2016 in protest at demonstrations held in front of its diplomatic premises in Tehran and Mashhad against the execution of leading Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Saudi authorities then started directing strong-worded accusations of regional meddling against Iran. The Islamic Republic has denied the claims and invited Riyadh to talking out their differences.

In June, Riyadh also ruptured its Doha relations, accusing it of supporting terrorism, and regional meddling. The kingdom’s allies - the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt - immediately followed suit.

The foursome then put the emirate under a blockade, and presented it with more than a dozen demands before they would restore ties. Doha has rejected both the accusations and the demands which urge Qatar to restrict its relations with Iran among others.

Iran has been providing Qatar with food supplies amid the Saudi-led economic siege, and has urged all parties to the diplomatic crisis to resolve their differences through dialog.

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