Iran wants stronger ties with Saudi Arabia

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is on a tour of Gulf Arab states to reassure them on Iran's nuclear deal with world powers

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Iran reiterated on Monday its willingness to forger strong ties with Saudi Arabia as it seeks to reassure Gulf Arab states following its nuclear deal with world powers.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who is on a tour of Gulf Arab states said his government was willing to work together with Saudi Arabia toward achieving regional “stability.”

“We believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia should work together in order to promote peace and stability in the region,” Zarif was quoted as saying by AFP during a stopover in Oman.

After talks in Kuwait on Sunday Zarif confirmed plans to visit Saudi Arabia but said that no date had been set

“We look at Saudi Arabia as an important and influential regional country and we are working to strengthen cooperation with it for the benefit of the region,” he said, according to Reuters.

A nuclear deal was reached on Nov. 24 between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s disputed nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.

“This agreement cannot be at the expense of any country in the region,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Reuters at a news conference after discussions with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Sabah al-Hamad al-Sabah.

U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states have cautiously welcomed the nuclear accord reached last month. Saudi Arabia has long expressed its doubt over Tehran’s nuclear work, fearing it is a cover for an atomic weapons program, a charge Iran has constantly denied.

Following his visit to Kuwait, Zarif headed to Oman, where he met with his counterpart and Sultan Qaboos. Zarif stated that he was ready to expand cooperation between the two countries “as much as possible,” Iranian state news agency IRNA reported.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed called for a partnership with Iran last week when he became the first Gulf Arab official to visit Tehran since the nuclear agreement was signed.

Iran’s diplomatic policy under President Hassan Rowhani has been seen to improve relations with regional countries as well as with the United States and the UK with historic phone calls made between Rowhani and the leaders of both countries.

(With AFP and Reuters )

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