Iran Says It Wants Good Relations With Saudi Arabia, U.A.E.

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Iran says it wants good relations with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and their allies, and it called on them to end their bitter dispute with Persian Gulf neighbor Qatar.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on May 1 said that Tehran has “extremely good relations with Qatar, Kuwait, Oman.”

“We hope to have the same type of relations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates,” Zarif told reporters at the Asian Cooperation Dialogue in Doha.

Shi’ite-led Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia are bitter rivals as they compete for influence in the region. They are also involved in what has been termed a “proxy war” by supporting opposing sides in Yemen’s deadly civil war.

Riyadh broke off relations with Tehran in 2016 after protesters angry at its execution of a top Shi’ite cleric set fire to its diplomatic missions in Iran.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain, and Egypt launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar. The countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, which it denies, and say it was drifting too close to Iran.

“We…hope that countries within the [Gulf Cooperation Council] could resolve their differences peacefully,” Zarif said. “We were against pressure on Qatar. We still believe that pressure on Qatar is against international law.”

Meanwhile, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdulrahman al-Thani called for “dialogue” between Iran and the United States to resolve the disputes between the two countries.

Washington has imposed a series of financial sanctions on Tehran, accusing it of attempting to develop nuclear weapons and of fomenting extremist violence in the region. Tehran denies the charges.

“We urge the parties of the crisis — Iran and the United States — to sit around the table and find sustainable solutions…because the region can’t bear more crises,” the Qatari diplomat said.