Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad ZarifReuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made clear on Saturday that Iran may cooperate with the United States on oil and security in the Gulf, but not on Israel.

“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,’” Zarif said in an interview with the Etmad newspaper, as quoted by Reuters.

Iran, he added, “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.”

The comments come amid tensions between the US and Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 agreement nearly three years ago, and proceeded to reimpose crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Iran, in turn, has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal.

President Joe Biden, who took office last week, has expressed a desire to return to the 2015 agreement, which was negotiated while he served as Vice President during the Obama administration. He recently told The New York Times that he would return to the 2015 agreement if Iran returned to compliance with it.

Zarif on Friday urged Biden to "choose a better path" by returning to the 2015 deal and warned that the opportunity would be lost if Washington insists on further Iranian concessions up front.