Zarif asks Saudi Arabia to work with Iran

Iran FM, on tour of Gulf Arab states, says nuclear deal signed in Geneva should not be seen as threat to any country.

    Zarif asks Saudi Arabia to work with Iran
    Zarif has said the nuclear deal should not be viewed as a threat to Gulf Arab countries [AFP]

    Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister who is currently on a tour of the Gulf states, has appealed to Saudi Arabia to work with Iran towards achieving regional stability.

    He said on Monday in Doha, Qatar, after visits to Kuwait and Oman for meetings on its recent nuclear deal with world powers that his goal was to assure Gulf Arab states that the deal was in their best interests.

    "We believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia should work together in order to promote peace and stability in the region," Zarif told AFP news agency.

    Zarif suggested the deal should not be seen as a threat.

    "This agreement cannot be at the expense of any country in the region," he said on Sunday.

    "Our relations with Saudi Arabia should expand as we consider Saudi Arabia as an extremely important country in the region and the Islamic world."

    Zarif also praised Oman's role in last month's negotiations between Iran and world powers including the US that paved the way for the landmark nuclear deal.

    "We expressed our appreciation for the very central and positive role that the sultanate had played in facilitating these talks," Zarif said after he met Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

    Unlike Saudi Arabia, locked in a decades-long rivalry with Shia-dominated Iran, Oman maintains good relations with Iran.

    Qaboos has acted as an intermediary between Western countries and the Islamic republic in the past few years.

    According to reports, the sultanate hosted secret talks between Iran and the US in the lead-up to the six-month accord on Iran's nuclear programme.

    Arriving in Doha on Monday, Zarif held talks with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the official QNA news agency reported.

    They "discussed bilateral relations and means of developing them as well as matters of mutual interest," QNA said.

    Guarded welcome

    The nuclear deal that was reached in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24 was welcomed by the Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states, which have long been concerned about Iran's regional ambitions.

    But the Saudi government reacted cautiously, saying the deal could mark the first step towards a comprehensive solution for Iran's nuclear programme.

    Zarif voiced hopes to visit Saudi Arabia soon and the United Arab Emirates, whose foreign minister announced during a visit to Tehran last week that his government was ready to create a joint economic commission with Iran.

    "I am ready to go to Saudi Arabia, but it is just a matter of being able to arrange a mutually convenient time. I will visit it soon inshallah [God willing]."

    Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) foreign ministers, meeting in Kuwait City last week, expressed hopes that the interim deal would lead to a permanent agreement on Iran's nuclear programme.

    The GCC is led by Saudi Arabia and includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and UAE.

    After his election in July, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said he wanted to improve relations with neighbouring countries, especially Gulf states.

    "We feel that relations between countries in the region must be built on mutual trust and friendly ties must be strengthened," Oman News Agency quoted Rouhani as saying.

    Zarif said it was not Iran's goal to deceive the world.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.