Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif flew to Riyadh Saturday to pay his respects to late Saudi King Abdullah, the Daily Star reported. Given the nature of the rivalry between the Middle East powers, such visits are highly uncommon.
The rivalry has recently intensified due to the countries' opposing stances in the Syrian conflict. Iran supports Bashar al-Assad, while Saudi Arabia sides with the Sunni Syrian opposition.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister visited Saudi Arabia in August 2014, but Zarif has since declined a Saudi invitation to visit.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has expressed his desire to improve relations between the two countries. Rouhani and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani each offered their condolences to the late king.
Rafsanjani expressed his hopes for positive relations with the new Saudi King Salman: "I wish success in consolidating the unity of the Islamic world, prosperity, coexistence and brotherhood of the two nations of Iran and Saudi Arabia under the lofty teachings of Islam."
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