World Bulletin/News Desk
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday he could not take up an invitation to visit regional rival Saudi Arabia because the proposed dates clashed with planned nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers.
"It is not possible for me to attend," the official IRNA news agency quoted Zarif as saying, explaining that the event to which he had been invited in the kingdom, an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting, coincided with the nuclear talks.
His visit would have been the first by a senior Iranian official since President Hassan Rouhani took power in 2013.
Zarif said said he had informed Saudi officials, IRNA reported. His visit would have been the first by a senior official of the Islamic Republic since President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, took power in 2013.
Rouhani has adopted a conciliatory tone towards Tehran's neighbours since taking office last year, but while Zarif has visited other Gulf Arab states, he has not yet been to Saudi Arabia.Last Mod: 01 Haziran 2014, 17:51