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Iran ready for intelligence cooperation with Oman against smuggling at sea: Top general

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri (L) and Omani Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Affairs Shihab bin Tariq Al Said meet in Muscat on May 8, 2023.

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri says the Islamic Republic is ready to foster closer intelligence cooperation with Oman in the fight against smuggling.

"After the closure of Iran's eastern borders, the smuggling route has changed and smuggling gangs have become more active at sea. This is dangerous for all countries, including Oman," Baqeri said in a meeting with Omani Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Affairs Shihab bin Tariq Al Said in Muscat on Monday.

"We are ready for joint intelligence and operational cooperation to deal with this sinister phenomenon," he added.

He hailed Oman's support for Iran in different fields, including the anchoring of Iranian vessels in Omani ports, and said Tehran welcomes further exchange of such visits in the future.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has vast experience in the fight against terrorism, modern warfare and equipment and is ready to share its experience with Oman," the top general said.

Iran and Oman have held several joint naval drills in recent years.

In December 2021, the Iranian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman held a joint military drill in Iran’s territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.

The military exercise, which was the ninth of its kind between the Iranian and Omani naval forces, was conducted in line with an agreement reached during sessions held by the two countries’ joint military friendship commissions.

In his remarks, Baqeri also warned of foreign powers' plots to take advantage of differences among regional countries, urging negotiations to thwart the enemies' conspiracies.

Referring to the good status of relations between Iran and Oman, he noted that mutual ties can serve as a model for cooperation among regional states to promote security in the region.

Baqeri invited Omani military officials to travel to Iran with the purpose of improving bilateral cooperation in various defense fields.

Al Said, for his part, said the current strategic visit by the top Iranian general to Muscat can help prepare the ground for a visit by Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi to Muscat and Omani Sultan's trip to Tehran in the near future.

He expressed hope that Iran and Oman would be able to counter enemies' threats through joint cooperation.

The Omani deputy prime minister also hailed normalization of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, saying it would help restore peace to the region.

He emphasized that Iran and Oman are responsible for ensuring security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, saying the two countries should not allow enemies to use minor issues as a pretext to undermine security in the region.

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