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Iran welcomes Omani sultan in 1st foreign visit under new president

Iran is welcoming the leader of neighboring Oman in the first visit by a foreign ruler to the country since centrist Iranian President Hasan Rouhani took office on Aug. 3.

Oman has in the past played a mediating role to help release Iranian and American nationals from both countries' prisons. Omani Sultan Qaboos' current visit has raised speculation in Iranian newspapers that Oman could once again play such a role to help ease tensions between Iran and U.S. and European powers over Iran's nuclear program.

Qaboos is in Tehran for a three-day visit on bilateral and international affairs. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif only told reporters his country was ready to discuss "various issues" with the sultan.