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Iran's regional peace initiative faces major challenges

While Oman and Iran may have high hopes for the Hormuz Peace Endeavor, regional security arrangements have typically needed great-power backing to hold them together.
(From L to R) Former Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharazi, Omani Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend the Tehran Security Conference on January 8, 2018, in Tehran. / AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Omani minister responsible for foreign affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, visited Tehran on Dec. 2-3 on an unexpected trip. He held meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani. While officials have published no details about these meetings, the Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) initiative was suggested to have been one of the subjects discussed during the visit. Also, tensions between Iran and the United States are expected to have been among the topics that the Omani official discussed during his visit.

The following is an examination of the HOPE initiative. It was first introduced by Rouhani during his attendance at the UN General Assembly's annual meeting. The plan, as Zarif elaborated on it later, suggests building a regional security arrangement “through intra-regional dialogue.” Since the plan’s proposal is based on a large number of international principles, discussing all of them would require a lengthy discussion, but some of its inherent difficulties could be listed in two main categories, one theoretical and the other practical.

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