Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday his country wanted stronger ties with Saudi Arabia, as it seeks to ease concerns among Gulf neighbors about a potential resurgence in its influence following a nuclear deal with world powers.
Zarif, on a tour of Gulf states, said after talks in Kuwait that no date had been set for an expected visit to Riyadh. He suggested the nuclear deal reached in Geneva on Nov. 24 should not be seen as a threat.
“This agreement cannot be at the expense of any country in the region,” Zarif, said at a news conference after discussions with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Sabah Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
“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,” Zarif said.
“Be assured that the nuclear deal is in favor of the stability and security of the region,” Zarif said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi said his country is ready to initiate a dialogue between Gulf states and Tehran.
“I am ready to meet any request from GCC states to prepare the ground for such talks with Iran if required,” he said while stressing that Cairo would not take a position that would negatively affect the national security of Gulf countries.
The Islamic republic struck a landmark deal in Geneva with six Western powers on Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
Relations between the GCC and Tehran have deteriorated because of Iran’s support for Syria’s Bashar Assad regime.
Zarif said Iran was looking to open a new page in relations with the Gulf. He is also visiting Oman during his current tour.
Zarif said the Geneva deal does not satisfy all of Iran’s demands or “the goals of the other party, but it is important to implement it … we will implement the deal and are convinced that implementing it will build the trust.”