Iran's Zarif open to oil, Gulf security contacts with U.S., not on Israel


FILE PHOTO: Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon August 14, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran may cooperate with the United States on oil and security in the Gulf, but not on Israel, the Iranian foreign minister said in remarks published on Saturday.

Ties between Tehran and Washington worsened under the administration of former President Donald Trump, who in 2018 withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Iran called for action and “not just words” shortly after Joe Biden was sworn in as president on Wednesday. Biden has said Washington will rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran resumes strict compliance.

“In my personal opinion, we should define our relationship with the United States: To tell the U.S. that ‘we will not cooperate with you on the issue of Israel and we will disagree with you,'” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with the reformist Etmad newspaper.

Iran, he said, “will not allow you to interfere in its internal affairs, but we have no problem working with you on the question of oil. We have no problem with ensuring the security of the Persian Gulf, though we believe that foreign presence in the Persian Gulf causes insecurity and you should not be there.”

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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