Top US ally Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it was working with Iran, America's top rival in the Mideast, to find ways to ease the crises in Lebanon and Iraq - a departure from Washington's confrontational stance toward Teheran.
The mediation is an unusual step by two rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, that have been competing for influence in the region. Mainly Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia has been increasingly vocal about its suspicions of mainly Shiite Iran's intentions.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Tuesday that Iran had approached his country to "cooperate in averting strife between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq and Lebanon."
"Saudi Arabia wants only peace in the region," al-Faisal said. "Contacts are ongoing between Riyadh and Tehran."