Baku, Azerbaijan, March 12
By Umid Niayesh, Saeed Isayev - Trend:
Iran is interested to strengthen its good ties with Oman, the country's President Hassan Rouhani said, Fars news agency reported on March 12.
Rouhani made the remarks at International Mehrabad Airport before leaving Tehran for Oman.
Commenting on importance of Persian Gulf and Oman Sea for Iran, the president noted that boosting relations with neighbouring countries, in particular the southern neighbours is a priority.
The two sides will discus regional issues, Rouhani said, adding that Iran and Oman have also cooperated in some international issues which will be discussed as well.
Rouhani also remarked that the two countries signed agreements in several fields including oil, gas, banking and cultural cooperation during visit of Sultan Qaboos to Tehran in August 2013.
Implementation of the agreements will be pursued during the visit, he added.
Rouhani left Tehran for Oman on March 12 morning. He is scheduled to meet with Sultan Qaboos and other senior Omani officials during his two-day visit to Muscat.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif and other senior Iranian officials are accompanying President Rouhani during his visit to Oman.
Rouhani is the second Iranian leader to visit Oman since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. His predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the sultanate in 2007.
On the economic front, Oman and Iran are seeking to expand trade, which reached $1 billion last year, as well as bilateral investments which they expect will top $10 billion by the end of this year, AFP quoted Iranian ambassador to Muscat, Ali Akbar Sibeveih as saying.
Iran is planning to invest $4 billion in Oman's Duqm port on the Arabian Sea, in projects that include the establishment of 100 large oil and gas tanks and an iron-smelting plant, among other projects.
It will invest a further $2 billion in two other ports - Sohar and Salalah. Meanwhile, Oman will make a $4 billion worth of investments in Iran's petrochemical, education, and oil exploitation projects.
In 2009, Oman and Iran signed an agreement for the construction of a 200-kilometre (124-mile) undersea gas pipeline linking the two countries. The project will be finalized within two years.
Oman and Iran are also discussing building a causeway link over the Strait of Hormuz, Sibeveih said, without giving details.
Oman and Iran, which share control of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, maintain friendly relations.