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Iran intelligence chief meets Saudi Crown Prince

Iran's intelligence minister has met Saudi Crown Prince Nayef, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, in the first such contact after the United States accused the Islamic republic of backing a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

December 14, 2011 11:04 by

There were no details of the meeting between Iran’s Heydar Moslehi and Prince Nayef, who is also the kingdom’s interior minister, but Tehran said it was aimed at clearing up “misunderstandings” with Gulf heavyweight Saudi Arabia.

The United States has used what it says was a foiled plot to help bolster international support to tighten sanctions on Iran which it accuses of developing nuclear weapons and sponsoring terrorism, charges denied by Tehran.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been strained also over Iran’s nuclear programme and what Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states say is Iran’s interference in Arab affairs.

In Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast confirmed the meeting had taken place.

“Contacts and exchange of opinions may lead to a resolution of issues and misunderstandings between the two countries and increasing cooperation in political and security areas,” Mehmanparast told reporters.

No other Iranian official was immediately available to comment on the meeting.

The meeting on Monday in the Saudi capital Riyadh discussed a number of issues of mutual interest, Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al Awsat said on Tuesday.

Prince Muqrin, the head of Saudi intelligence, also attended the meeting.

Saudi officials could not immediately be reached to comment. (Reporting by Hashem Kalantari in Tehran and Mahmoud Habboush in Dubai; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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