Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) meets with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in Muscat March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Sultan Al Hasani
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sought Thursday to mend fences between his mainly-Shiite country and Sunni-dominated Gulf monarchies distrustful of Iran's nuclear ambitions and its support of the Syrian regime.The sultanate maintains strong links with Iran and has played an important role as mediator between Western countries and Tehran.Ties between Gulf countries and Iran have also been strained by Tehran's backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in its battle against rebels supported by the Arab monarchies.Oman and Iran are seeking to expand trade, which reached $1 billion last year, and bilateral investments which they expect will top $10 billion by the end of this year, Iranian Ambassador Ali Akbar Sibeveih said Monday.Relations between Iran and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia have long been strained as both countries vie for regional dominance.
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