"Unlike most of the other Persian Gulf monarchies, Oman asserts that confronting Iran is not the appropriate policy for addressing the potential threat from Iran. Sultan Qaboos has consistently maintained ties to Iran's leaders, despite the widespread international criticism of Iran's nuclear program and foreign policy. Successive U.S. Administrations have generally refrained from criticizing the Iran-Oman relationship, perhaps in part because Oman has been useful as an intermediary between the United States and Iran. An August 2013 visit to Iran by Qaboos, which followed months and possibly years of quiet U.S.-Iran diplomacy brokered by Oman, may have paved the way for the November 24, 2013, interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the international community. Oman has since helped the Administration assuage Gulf state concerns about that interim agreement -- even at the expense of causing distance in Oman's relationship with Gulf state leader Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Oman played the role of broker between Iran and the United States in the September 2011 release of two U.S. hikers from Iran after two years in jail there, and it reportedly is involved in efforts to obtain the release of other U.S. citizens imprisoned in Iran or in territory under Iran's control. For further information on regional dynamics that affect Oman, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RL32048, 'Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses,' by Kenneth Katzman."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21534