Iran accused Saudi Arabia on Wednesday of seeking tension in the region, after the Saudi deputy crown prince ruled out dialogue with Tehran, Reuters reported.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who serves as the Saudi defense minister and is a son of King Salman, said in unusually blunt remarks on Tuesday that he would protect his kingdom from what he called Iranian efforts to dominate the Muslim world.
Asked if Saudi Arabia was ready to open a direct dialogue with Tehran, Mohammed ruled out that option.
"How do you have a dialogue with a regime built on an extremist ideology ... that they must control the land of Muslims and spread their Twelver Jaafari sect in the Muslim world," he ssaid, according to Reuters.
He added that Iran's ideology was based on belief that "the Imam Mahdi will come and they must prepare the fertile environment for (his) arrival ... and they must control the Muslim world."
"We know that the aim of the Iranian regime is to reach the focal point of Muslims (Mecca) and we will not wait until the fight is inside Saudi Arabia and we will work so that the battle is on their side, inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia," he stressed.
Iran’s foreign ministry denounced the comments on Wednesday, saying they were “destructive”.
"These comments are proof that Saudi Arabia supports terrorism and seeks confrontational and destructive policies in the region and towards Iran," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi was quoted by ISNA news agency as saying in response.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional rivals who disagree on a host of issues, including the conflict in Syria, where Iran provides direct support to President Bashar Al-Assad, while the Saudis back the rebels trying to oust him.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly called on Iran to stop its “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom's neighbors.
Iran has fired back, accusing Saudi Arabia of trying to “drag the entire region into confrontation”.