Iran's top diplomat has met with Kuwait's ruler on his first visit to the Western-allied Gulf state since Iran's moderate President Hassan Rouhani took office in August.

Kuwait's state news agency says Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif conveyed a message from Rouhani on ways to improve relations between the two countries during his Sunday meeting with emir Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

Iran's new government has promised to build closer ties with nearby Arab countries. The Islamic Republic has a tense relationship with Gulf Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Iran's official IRNA news agency says Zarif will head to Oman, also in the Arabian Peninsula, after leaving Kuwait. The United Arab Emirates' foreign minister visited Tehran last week.