Kuwait City: Kuwait has described its relations with Tehran as “excellent” despite mounting tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, particularly over Syria, where the two regional powers support opposite sides.

Kuwait’s relations with Iran are “excellent, historical and developing,” the official Kuna news agency cited foreign ministry undersecretary Khalid Al Jarallah as saying late on Tuesday.

“We are extremely pleased with the development of the distinguished relations between the two nations,” said Al Jarallah, adding that “friendly Iran is an important country shouldering great responsibilities in the region.”

Al Jarallah spoke after attending a function at the Iranian embassy in Kuwait City to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

He said Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah plans to visit Tehran, but did not say when.

Kuwait is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council led by oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia, which has long viewed Iran as a regional rival.

Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime, while Saudi Arabia backs the Sunni-led rebellion.

Besides Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the GCC groups Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited four Gulf states in December, skipping Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and called for opening a new page in relations with the bloc.

Jarallah said GCC states and Iran are holding talks to improve ties, adding: “We cannot imagine not having talks with Iran considering its weight, size and role in the region.”

“Kuwait is holding consultations and cooperating with Iran in all fields, especially to strengthen security and stability in the region,” Al Jarallah said.