Baku, Azerbaijan, March 21
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Amid rising tensions, Iran is interested in improving relations with Saudi Arabia, the Iranian Fars news agency reported an Iranian official as saying on March 21.
The country's deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks during a meeting with Saudi Arabia's new ambassador to Tehran Abdulrahman Al-Shehri.
The two sides emphasized importance of the Iran-Saudi Arabia relations in boosting stability and security of the entire region. Boosting relations with all Islamic and Arabic countries, in particular with Saudi Arabia is a priority of Iran's foreign policy, Amir-Abdollahian said.
The Iranian deputy foreign minister went on to say that the two countries are capable of changing the orientation of the Islamic world's development in favor of Muslims.
Referring to the positive views of the Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud towards boosting relations with Iran, the ambassador said that coordination and mutual cooperation between the two countries is a necessity.
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have the aspiration of taking the leadership role in the region yet the two countries are poles apart politically.
While Iran is supporting the Lebanese Shiaa Movement Hezbollah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Saudi Arabia is a key supporter of the Syrian opposition.
Saudi Arabia's concerns over Iran are mainly related to its plans of expanding influence to other parts of the Gulf region as well as a disagreement over Iran's nuclear program.
Iranian former president and Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Jan. 9 that relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are going through the worst period in history. Rafsanjani is concerned by the increasing tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.