US must seize chance to 'win trust' of Iranians: Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

TEHRAN - Iran's foreign minister on Thursday called on the United States to "win the valuable trust" of Iranians after the "historic opportunity" created by Tehran's nuclear agreement with world powers.

"It would be best to seize this historic opportunity to win the valuable trust of the Iranian people, which has been damaged through decades of hostile and wrong policies by the United States," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a statement.

He was speaking after President Barack Obama told US lawmakers on Wednesday that rejecting the nuclear deal would lead to war and destroy Washington's credibility.

"Congressional rejection of this deal leaves any US administration that is absolutely committed to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option: another war in the Middle East," Obama said.

"Many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal," he added.

Zarif said US intervention in the region had proved harmful.

"The previous US governments have wasted great opportunities by their false beliefs," he said.

The use of "threats of coercion as a foreign policy" would "result in nothing but a waste of American resources and (damage to its) reputation," he added.

"It's high time that this dangerous and harmful behaviour, which belongs to past centuries, be put away." Iran and the United States, along with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, recently struck a deal meant to ensure Iran's nuclear programme could not produce a bomb.

The deal, that rewards Iran with a lifting of crippling sanctions, must be reviewed and approved by lawmakers in the US and Iran before it can be implemented.