US ally Saudi Arabia and Iran are working together to try to calm the crises in Iraq and Lebanon, the Saudi foreign minister said Tuesday, despite Washington's efforts to isolate Teheran and stem its power in the Middle East.
The mediation is an unusual step by two rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, who have been competing for influence in the region. Mainly Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia has been increasingly vocal about its suspicions of mainly Shi'ite 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 Shi'ites in Iraq and Lebanon."
"Saudi Arabia wants only peace in the region," al-Faisal said. "Contacts are ongoing between Riyadh and Teheran."