Iran Accuses Saudi Arabia of Pushing for War

Iran's FM Javad Zarif said his country is taking part in talks aimed at relieving tensions, while the Saudis were part of talks that fostered conflict

In this Feb. 15, 2016 file photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. A European diplomat close to the Iran nuclear deal says EU foreign ministers are expected to call for the accord's continued implementation
AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sharply criticized Saudi Arabia on Monday, accusing his country's regional rival of fanning the flames of conflict.

Iran is taking part in talks aimed at relieving tensions, while the Saudis were part of talks that fostered conflict, the minister said in comments carried by state news agency IRNA. 

"That's quite ironic," the top diplomat said.

Zarif pointed to an Antalya meeting with his Russian and Turkish counterparts preparing an agenda for Wednesday's summit between the three country's presidents to discuss an end to the Syrian conflict.

The minister said this contrasted with a Saudi meeting with the Arab League in Cairo, during which the kingdom demanded a hard line against Tehran.
Zarif added that Iran was also working towards a truce in Syria, while the Saudis accused Tehran of destabilizing the region and escalating the crisis.
"But in fact it's the Saudis themselves that are waging war in Yemen, blocking Qatar and stoking the crisis in Lebanon," Zarif said. 

Diplomatic relations have been tense between the regional foes since 2016, when demonstrators in Tehran stormed the Saudi embassy and set part of the structure on fire. 

Riyadh and Tehran also support opposing sides in several regional conflicts, including in Syria and Yemen.