Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Muscat, December 2008.
Reuters / Ahmed Jadallah

Most observers of the current nuclear negotiations with Iran have focused on the scope and timing of sanctions relief. Tehran insists that sanctions be immediately lifted once a final deal is reached; Washington seeks a gradual phase-out. Lost in the discussion is the fact that few countries have as much at stake in the outcome as Oman. For this state on the horn of the Arabian Peninsula, the diplomatic and economic risks are high.  

Oman’s leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has been at the forefront of mediations between Tehran and Washington for the past decade, helping broker the interim nuclear agreement in November 2013. His involvement can be directly attributed to Oman’s historic relationship with Iran, which includes the Shah’s support to help quell the Dhofar rebellion in 1962–76 and his support for Qaboos’ bloodless palace coup, in which his father was ousted, in 1970. In addition, Iran and Oman

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