Oman denies mediating in rising regional tensions

Omani Foreign Minister says Muscat is in contact with all parties in order to secure stability in Strait of Hormuz.

DUBAI - Oman is not undertaking any mediation efforts around rising tensions in the Gulf region but is in contact with "all parties" in order to maintain stability in the Strait of Hormuz, Oman's minister in charge of foreign affairs said on Sunday.

"We are not mediating, but what we are more concerned with, in this case, is securing the stability of navigation in the Hormuz Straight, so we are in contact with all parties," Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah told Omani state TV after meeting Iranian officials in Tehran.

Oman has maintained good relations with Iran throughout successive regional crises, allowing it at times to play a key mediating role, including with the United States.

Tensions in the Gulf have soared since May amid a deepening standoff between Iran and the US over Tehran's nuclear programme, with a string of incidents involving tankers and drones.

The US and Gulf powerhouse Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for being behind multiple attacks on tankers in the Gulf in June, which Iran denies.

The Gulf has been a theatre of increased pressure on Iran from Washington.

The US deployed an aircraft carrier task force as well as B-52 bombers, an amphibious assault ship and a missile defence battery to the Gulf in May.

The movements came in response to alleged Iranian threats to US interests or those of its Middle East allies.

But they have raised concerns, even among governments close to the US, that brinksmanship with Tehran could lead to a dangerous miscalculation.