Iran ready for talks 'toward peace' with Arab states

Iran's Supreme Leader slammed Saudi Arabia as "America's milking cow" as he attacked the nation over its close relationship to "infidels".

They quoted him querying United States hostility towards Iran, speaking of tensions between Doha and Washington, defending Qatar's support for Hamas and Hizbollah, and speculating that president Donald Trump might not remain in power for long.

Khamenei on May 27 said the Saudis were "idiots [who] believe that they can win the friendship of the enemies of Islam with money", Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported. "They will face certain downfall".

Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and Shiite-majority Iran are on opposing sides in a number of regional conflicts, including in Syria and Yemen.

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The comments seem to reference the recent visit by US President Donald Trump to Riyadh, which saw the two allies ink a $110 billion weapons deal as well as investment worth billions more.

Rouhani's website quoted him as saying in a phone conversation with Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, that the Muslim world is beset by divisions and should take steps "toward peace and brotherhood".

Meanwhile President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist who has significantly less power than the supreme leader, earlier called for improved relations with Gulf Arab states during a telephone call with the emir of Qatar, which has come under fire from its Gulf neighbours over its relationship with Tehran.

Dr Rouhani also talked about Tehran-Moscow relations in the field of strengthening peace and stability and also combatting terrorism, especially in Syria, adding: "Develop this cooperation with Syria is very important and we welcome the continuation of these trilateral cooperation between Iran, Russia and Syria, and we are determined to continue it".

  • Adam Floyd