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Saudi Arabia has sent messages to Iran's president, says Tehran

Iranian government spokesman says messages were presented to Hassan Rouhani from leaders of some countries
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said in an interview broadcast on Sunday he preferred a political solution to a military one with regard to tensions with Iran (AP)

Saudi Arabia has sent messages to Iran's president through the leaders of other countries, an Iranian government spokesman said on Monday, at a time of heightened tensions between the regional rivals.

"Messages from the Saudis were presented to [Iran's President] Hassan Rouhani from the leaders of some countries," spokesman Ali Rabiei said, according to the semi-official ILNA news agency. 

"If Saudi Arabia is really pursuing a change of behaviour, Iran welcomes that," he added.

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Rabiei did not give any information on what the messages contained, the Reuters news agency reported.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warned in an interview broadcast on Sunday that oil prices could spike to "unimaginably high numbers" if the world does not come together to deter Iran, but said he preferred a political solution to a military one.

Saudi Arabia blames Iran for a devastating attack on two Saudi oil facilities on 14 September, a charge Tehran denies.

Separately, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said that Iran is ready to hold talks with other countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates, another regional rival.

"We are ready to hold talks with countries, especially the Emirates, in a group or separately and eliminate the misunderstandings," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a weekly news conference, according to the official ministry website.

'Chaos and destruction'

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has said he believes Saudi Arabia is looking to de-escalate tensions with Iran, adding that it was in everybody's interest to prevent further war in the region.

Abdul Mahdi made the comments to Al Jazeera, excerpts of which aired on Monday, days after he visited the kingdom where he held talks with King Salman. 

"Nobody possesses the weapons necessary to deal their adversary a fatal blow. Chaos and destruction will hit the region in its entirety," he said. 

The Iraqi prime minister emphasised the importance of resolving the long-running conflict in Yemen as a prelude to achieving regional peace.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after Houthi rebels seized control of the capital, Sanaa, driving out the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, thrust millions to the brink of famine and spawned what the UN has called "the world's worst humanitarian crisis". 

Saudi Arabia has long accused Tehran of backing the Houthis and supplying them with weapons. 

Iran says it supports the rebels diplomatically and politically but denies providing them with military aid.

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