World

Iran's foreign minister calls recent outreach to Saudi Arabia, a regional rival, 'necessary'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, gestures as he speaks during a panel discussion entitled "The  Geopolitical Outlook" at the World Economic Forum, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. The world's financial and political elite will head this week to the Swiss Alps for 2015's gathering of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, gestures as he speaks during a panel discussion entitled "The Geopolitical Outlook" at the World Economic Forum, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. The world's financial and political elite will head this week to the Swiss Alps for 2015's gathering of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

Iran's foreign minister says his outreach to regional rival Saudi Arabia after the death of the kingdom's ruler was "necessary."

Shiite power Iran and the Sunni-ruled kingdom are at odds over multiple issues in the Middle East, including the ongoing civil war in Syria, turmoil in Yemen and protests in Bahrain. However, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was among the first foreign dignitaries to visit Saudi Arabia following the death Friday of King Abdullah.

Zarif says he hopes his outreach to the Saudi government "prepares the ground for more cooperation in all areas in this very sensitive region based on good neighborliness and rationalism."

Zarif made the comments Sunday at a news conference in Tehran with Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic.