Oman shares the Strait of Hormuz with Iran and maintains cordial relations with Tehran, despite the former’s membership in the mostly anti-Iranian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). As Iran gradually reintegrates into the global economy, Oman is becoming a stepping stone for Iranian companies seeking to penetrate new African, Asian and Arab markets.
Oman’s emergence as a critical trade hub linking Iran to several continents is consistent with the sultanate’s independent foreign policy, which often operates outside the GCC framework. Oman’s commercial, cultural and geospatial links to non-Arab lands are rooted in its history as ruler of an empire that stretched across portions of modern-day India, Pakistan, Iran, Somalia, Mozambique and Tanzania. Oman’s pan-Indian Ocean identity often transcends its Arab/Islamic identity and its membership in the Saudi-led GCC.