Speaking to reporters at the Davos economic forum, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says Tehran is not ''in animosity'' with Saudi Arabia despite recent ''provocative measures'' and believes peace and stability is possible when they ''come back to their minds.'' Rough Cut - Subtitled (No Reporter Narration)
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Wednesday (January 20) that Tehran was "not necessarily in animosity or hostility with Saudi Arabia" after Riyadh's new rulers have taken a harder line and as the nuclear deal has relieved pressure on President Hassan Rouhani's government. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland, Zarif said "we believe our Saudi neighbors panicked and have taken provocative measures and we hope sooner rather than later they come to their minds and we can have a peace and stability." Saudi officials have said little in public, but they fear the end of sanctions on Iran could boost what they see as its subversive activities in the Middle East while also enriching a diverse economy that the oil-dependent kingdom views as a major competitor for regional influence. Saudi-Iranian political rivalry has aggravated tumult across the Middle East for years, but has escalated in recent months. Saudi Arabia, a conservative Sunni Muslim monarchy, sees revolutionary Iran as the paramount threat to the Middle East's stability, because of its support for Shi'ite militias that Riyadh says have inflamed sectarian violence and undermined Arab governments. Iranian clerics, officials and students attacked Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia on January 2 for executing Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a move that seemed to further doom any hope of rapprochement between two ideologically opposed powers vying for influence across the region. Nimr, executed along with three other Shi'ites and dozens of al Qaeda members, is seen in Iran as the champion of a Shi'ite minority oppressed in Saudi Arabia, and Tehran had made clear that it saw the terrorism charges against him as fabricated.