TEHRAN, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims may pose the greatest threat to world peace, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif said.
"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.