Iran FM: Outreach to Saudi Arabia 'Necessary'

Foreign Minister Zarif claims that reaching out to Saudi Arabia will prepare the ground for further cooperation between the Middle East's major rivals.

Atta Kenare

Iran's foreign minister says his outreach to regional rival Saudi Arabia after the death of the kingdom's ruler was "necessary."

Shiite power Iran and the Sunni-ruled kingdom are at odds over multiple issues in the Middle East, including the ongoing civil war in Syria, turmoil in Yemen and protests in Bahrain. However, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was among the first foreign dignitaries to visit Saudi Arabia following the death Friday of King Abdullah.

Zarif says he hopes his outreach to the Saudi government "prepares the ground for more cooperation in all areas in this very sensitive region based on good neighborliness and rationalism."

Zarif made the comments Sunday at a news conference in Tehran with Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic.