Baku, Azerbaijan, June 17
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iranian first deputy foreign minister Morteza Sarmadi arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on June 17 to attend the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Sarmadi will explain the Islamic Republic's viewpoints about the latest developments of the Islamic countries in particular the crisis in Syria and Iraq, Iran's ISNA news agency reported on June 17.
Earlier, Iran's representative to the organization, Hamid Reza Dehqani announced that since foreign minister Moammad Javad Zarif will be engaged in nuclear negotiations with the world powers, the highest ranking official after him, Sarmadi, will attend the summit on June 18 and 19.
Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal said last month that Riyadh had invited Zarif to the summit, hinting at the possibility of a thaw between the two regional rivals.
It should be noted that relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have aspirations 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.