Iran's newly-elected president Hassan Rowhani declared on Monday that his incoming government will seek to improve ties with regional rival Saudi Arabia, tarnished over differences about Syria's civil war.
"The priority of my government is to strengthen relations with neighbors... the countries of the Persian Gulf and Arab ones that are of strategic importance and our brothers," said Rowhani.
"Saudi Arabia is a brother and neighbor... with which we have historic, cultural and geographical relations," the moderate-conservative cleric said in his first news conference since winning Iran's presidential election.
"I hope that the next government will have very good relations with our neighbors, including Saudi Arabia."
Ties between Shiite-ruled Iran and Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim kingdom, have deteriorated in recent months, mostly due to their opposing positions on the 27-month Syria conflict.
Tehran backs the regime of President Bashar Assad, which is dominated by the Alawite sect of Shiite Islam, while Riyadh supports Sunni-led rebels who are fighting to oust him.
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