Iran Wants 'New Page' with Saudis, UAE

Foreign Minister Zarif says he hopes to visit Saudi Arabia, and to end a dispute with UAE over islands.

Gil Ronen ,

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran is moving to improve relations with Saudi Arabia and end a conflict with the United Arab Emirates over islands in the Persian Gulf, reports Bloomberg news.

“We look at Saudi Arabia as a very important and influential country in the region,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters today in Kuwait City. Zarif reiterated plans to visit Saudi Arabia but did not provide a date, saying Iran hopes for a “new page” in relations with its neighbors in the Gulf region.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are locked in a regional struggle over Syria’s future, with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s top Sunni Muslim power, supporting rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Shi'ite-majority Iran.

Iran attempts to acquire nuclear-weapons fanned Gulf states’ concerns that Iran was seeking to dominate the oil-rich region. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of stirring up unrest among Shi'ites in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Gulf.

Now, Iran wants to end a dispute with the UAE. over the island of Abu Musa, Zarif said. “We will negotiate with our friends in the UAE to resolve this problem,” he said.

Zarif’s comments followed a Nov. 28 visit to Tehran by UAE. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Arutz Sheva analyst Mark Langfan has explained that Iran is seeking hegemony over the “Black Gold Triangle” where a large part of the world's oil reserves are, and which is dominated by Shi'ites.