The state news agency of Oman reported that authorities in the country have discovered a spy ring working from its neighbor, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The agents for the UAE were purportedly spying on the Omani government and its military.
Omani officials indicated the spies were uncovered months ago, leading to the arrest of several Omanis.
The UAE government has denied any knowledge of or relationship to any such espionage network, according to its own news agency.
The UAE expresses its full willingness to cooperate with ... Oman in any investigations that it carries out in full transparency to uncover (those) who try to mar relations between the two countries, said the emirate’s foreign ministry.
An Omani security official told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the spies might have interested in the potential succession of Oman’s leader, 70-year-old Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who has no children.
Qaboos has ruled Oman, one of the oldest and most conservative Arab nations, since 1970.
Other observers suspect alternative scenarios.
One possibility is that the UAE wants to know more about Iran-Oman relations because of Tehran and Muscat's long ties in security and military cooperation, Theodore Karasik of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, told Reuters.
Oman enjoys close relations with Iran – the two nations jointly oversee the crucial Strait of Hormuz, which transports 40 percent of global oil tanker traffic. However, Oman also has solid diplomatic tied to Western powers, including the U.S., due to its important strategic position.
The UAE is also strong ally of the U.S.