image Photo: Reuters

Iran: US ties possible, but not Israel

Iran may decide to cooperate with the United States on oil and security in the Gulf – but never with Israel, declared the Islamic Republic’s top diplomat.

Relations between Tehran and Washington deteriorated under the administration of former President Donald Trump, who in 2018 withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and re-imposed sanctions that have crippled its economy.

“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,’” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview with the reformist Etemad newspaper published in Tehran.

In remarks directed at Washington, Zarif added that the Ayatollah Regime “will not allow you to interfere in its internal affairs, but we have no problem working with you on the question of oil.”

Even though Iran has “no problem with ensuring the security of the Persian Gulf,” Zarif went on to stress that “we believe that foreign presence in the Persian Gulf causes insecurity and you should not be there.”

Iran called for action and “not just words” shortly after the 20 January inauguration of President Joe Biden, who has previously stated that Washington would return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) if the Islamic Republic would reinitiate strict compliance with terms of the pact. Newly-appointed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed in a press bried that the new administration intends to strengthen the nuclear constraints on Iran through diplomacy and the issue will be part of President Biden’s early talks with foreign counterparts and allies,

Last week Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised cabinet meeting that, “The ball is in the U.S. court now. If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact.”

“Today, we expect the incoming US administration to return to the rule of law and commit themselves, and if they can, in the next four years, to remove all the black spots of the previous four years,” Rounahi insisted, adding, “Tyrant Trump’s political career and his ominous reign are over today and his ‘maximum pressure’ policy on Iran has completely failed.”