File - Sultan Qaboos with President Hassan Rouhani upon the Iranian leader’s arrival in Muscat.
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Looking frail, Oman's Sultan Qaboos appeared on television last month to reassure his people about his health.In a turbulent Middle East, Oman remains an island of stability along with Gulf Arab neighbors, and many Omanis believe the succession process could be handled smoothly when the sultan finally departs.It was in Oman, for example, that Iranian and American diplomats held secret contacts which led to an interim deal in 2013 on a nuclear dispute which has long heightened regional tensions.But analysts fear that any power struggle after the sultan's death within his Al-Said family – or between the royal family and army leaders – could rattle the country. Since then Qaboos has been shown only once, meeting members of the royal family.Under Omani law, a royal family council must decide on a successor within three days of the sultan's death. If it fails to do this, a defense council that includes top army officers, the head of the Supreme Court and the heads of the two chambers of Oman's consultative council must enforce the sultan's own choice, which had been secretly recorded in a sealed envelope.Omani academic and political analyst Abdullah Mohammad al-Ghailani said.
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