Iran will not team up with the US against ISIL because “we were not convinced that the United States government was serious” in its claim to fight terrorism, Zarif said in an interview with PBS NewsHour in New York on Friday.
He also criticized the US Congress plan to finance “moderate Syrian militants” in the fight against the extremists, saying the decision does not correspond with the so-called efforts to fight terrorism.
“You do not fight terrorism by weakening the central government which is the most important element in rejecting and opposing these terrorists. If you undermine the central government in Syria, that would enable the IS (ISIL) terrorists to gain even more territory,” he added.
Touching on the situation in Iraq, Zarif said that the Iraqis themselves are capable of defending their territory.
In a nationally televised address on September 10, US President Barack Obama said the United States will join “our friends and allies to degrade, and ultimately destroy, the terrorist group known as ISIL.”
On Friday, Obama also signed into law a piece of legislation authorizing the military to arm and train anti-Syria militants.
Earlier this week, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei described as “absurd, hollow and biased” remarks by US officials regarding the formation of a US-led international coalition to battle the ISIL terrorist group.
The ISIL terrorists control large parts of Syria’s east and north. ISIL also sent its militants into Iraq in June, seizing large swathes of land straddling the border between Syria and Iraq.