"I think we need to come to understand that a sectarian divide in the Islamic world is a threat to all of us," Zarif said, the BBC reported Sunday.
He charged longstanding tensions between the divisions of Islam had been inflamed by some for "short-sighted political interests."
Some 6,500 civilians have died in Iraq this year in sectarian violence.
Zarif cited Syria as a prime example, where what had begun as political dissension has become a war between Shia and Sunni elements.
No matter where people's allegiances lie in the country, Zarif said, "we need to work together on the sectarian issue."
Iran is a Shia state and Zarif accused Sunni Arab leaders of "fear-mongering" to heighten tensions.
"Nobody should try to fan the flames of sectarian violence," Zarif said. "We should reign it in, bring it to a close, try to avoid a conflict that would be detrimental to everybody's security."
Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states have accused Iran many of the tensions Zarif complained of.