The Iranian foreign minister has spoken out about “understanding and dialogue” with its neighbours as regional tensions rise over the conflict in Yemen.

Mohammad Javad Zarif

Mohammad Javad Zarif

While a Saudi-led coalition continues to carry out air strikes on Yemen, Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “Dialogue and understanding with the countries in the region are one of the priorities of Iran’s foreign policy.”

IRNA reports that the Iranian minister said on the sidelines of the Islamic Cooperation Organization summit on Tuesday night: “The terrorist group Daesh (ISIS) has put all countries under threat.”

He stressed that in view of the ISIS threat, the countries in the region should work together rather than “mobilize against each other”.
Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran has no problems with the Gulf Cooperation Council states and is willing to meet with any of their foreign ministers, including the Saudi foreign minister.

Iranian-Saudi relations are under serious stress as Saudi forces bomb Houthi strongholds in Yemen. Iran has expressed its support for the Houthis and condemned foreign intervention in that country.

The Gulf Cooperation states are also at odds with Iran over the crisis in Syria. Iran supports the Beshar Assad regime, while Arab countries in the Gulf region, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been linked to Assad opposition groups.

Zarif said: “I tell our Saudi brothers we want a brighter future for all nations in the region, and what they are doing in Yemen will be to their own detriment.”

Meanwhile, Zarif also told reporters that Iran supports the government of Iraq, saying: “The government of Iraq is standing against terrorists with all its might, and we will assist them in this regard.”

Following the recent capture of Ramadi by ISIS, Iraq’s Shia militia forces, which are supported by Iran, have been called on to push back ISIS advances in Anbar Province.