U.S. seeks Arab countries’ support to increase pressure on Iran

U.S. seeks Arab countries’ support to increase pressure on Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 20 /Trend/

Washington appeals to Gulf countries for using their influence to dissuade Iran from seeking nuclear weapons and destructive behavior, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

"We're sending out worldwide messages now that are tailored to each country," a senior State Department official told reporters visiting Oman with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "asking them to use their relations with Iran in way to really focus the Iranians on the risks they face based on this type of behavior."

"We hope the Omanis will use their relations with Iran, as they have in the past, to help the Iranians understand the risks of what they're doing," said the senior State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in keeping with diplomatic protocol.

Secretary of State Clinton visited the sultan of Oman earlier Wednesday to thank him for helping to secure the release of American hikers from Iran last month on behalf of the administration and to appeal to Arabs to further increase pressure on Iran.

In Oman, Clinton held talks with Sultan Qaboos bin Said in his palace in the capital of the Arabian Peninsula country. The meeting came a week after revelations of an alleged Iranian plot to kill an ambassador from Saudi Arabia, Oman's neighbor and close ally.

Last week, the U.S. authorities said they had broken up plans by two men linked to Iranian Quds Force to assassinate Saudi Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir.

Iran denies the allegations saying the U.S. uses this tactic to slander again Iran. The IRGC also rejected any involvement of the Quds force in the plot alleged by the United States.

The Obama administration is seeking to use the plot to build support from Arab governments for further isolating Iran diplomatically and economically.

Oman, a member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, traditionally maintains good relations with Iran and has helped mediate conflicts with the Islamic Republic in the past.

Omani officials interceded with Iranian leaders last year to secure the release of American hiker Sarah Shourd, and were influential last month in persuading Iran to free Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer.

Bauer, Fattal and Shourd were detained in 2009 after crossing an unmarked stretch of the Iran-Iraq border. They were charged by Iran's Revolutionary Court with illegally crossing the border and espionage and sentenced to eight-year prison terms.

Shourd was released in September, 2010 on health grounds after posting 500,000 dollars in bail by Oman, and returned to the United States. In September, 2011, Iran's Revolutionary Court agreed to release two U.S. citizens under $500,000 bail for each.

Edited by T.Konyayeva.

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