Iran says Saudi Arabia "exploring in prohibited border areas"

DUBAI Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:07pm GMT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran accused Saudi Arabia of conducting what it called exploration activities in prohibited border areas, according to Iran's foreign ministry spokesman quoted on state news agency IRNA on Tuesday.

Ramin Mehmanparast made the accusation at his weekly news conference in response to a question about a Saudi complaint to the United Nations last week that Iran strayed onto its territory near oil and gas fields in the Gulf.

"Apparently Saudi Arabia has taken actions for exploration activities in prohibited border areas," Mehmanparast said. "The necessary notices were given, and our country's point of view and our commitment to border agreements were conveyed to the Saudi ambassador in Tehran."

"We think that any differences can be solved in an environment of cooperation and with a spirit of partnership and understanding," he added.

"The violation that has taken place was on the part of Saudi companies and if this issue is to be followed up, they must be questioned," he said.

Separated by about 250 km (150 miles) of Gulf waters, Shi'ite Muslim power Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia have tense relations. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of fomenting unrest among Shi'ites in its oil-rich Eastern Province, a charge Iran denies.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati, editing by William Hardy)

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