Last updated: 13 December, 2011

Iran cagey on intelligence minister’s Saudi trip

Iran’s intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi, visited Saudi Arabia this week to clear up “misunderstandings” and discuss security issues, Iran’s foreign ministry said Tuesday without elaborating.

Moslehi went to Riyadh on Monday, foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a regular media briefing, according to Mehr news agency.

“The intelligence minister’s trip to Saudi Arabia has to do with consultations between the two countries aimed at removing misunderstandings and discussing security issues,” Mehmanparast was quoted as saying.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that Moslehi met Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, who is Saudi Arabia’s interior minister. SPA said “questions of common interest” were discussed, without disclosing details.

Moslehi’s trip to Riyadh was the first by a top Iranian official since the deterioration of Iran-Saudi ties in recent months following a Saudi military intervention in Bahrain in March to back the Sunni minority regime there against Shiite pro-democracy protesters.

Relations have further frayed with Riyadh accusing Tehran of interfering in neighbouring Arab states and warning that Iran’s nuclear programme could pose a threat to regional security.

And tensions worsened following US accusations of an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi envoy to Washington. Tehran has denied the charge.