DUBAI - If Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's dream of reaching a deal with world powers on Tehran's nuclear program in six months comes true, Oman, an important intermediary in the dispute, could be a big winner.
There have been too many false dawns in Iran's decade-old standoff with the West over Tehran's nuclear program to bank on Rouhani's call in New York last week for a deal within 3-6 months.
But in the weeks leading up to Rouhani's first foreign trip since he became president in August, Omani officials have been visiting Tehran in a bid to buy Iranian gas in the hope that some day sanctions on Iran will be lifted and Oman can finally get the supplies it desperately needs over the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran sits on the world's largest reserves of gas and Oman has been trying to buy some of it since 2005 to feed energy intensive industries and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants planned before it cut its own reserves estimate.
Price disagreements, Western sanctions that have stunted Iranian energy projects and US pressure on Oman to find other suppliers have prevented any real progress with the pipeline project since then.