Iranian official defends energy deal with Turkey

An Iranian diplomat on Tuesday defended an agreement with Turkey to ship natural gas from Iran and Turkmenistan to European markets and called on the United States not to meddle in the region's affairs. Turkey and Iran last week agreed on a preliminary deal to build two separate pipelines to ship natural gas from the fields in Iran and neighboring Turkmenistan via Turkish territory. The United States - a close ally of Turkey - on Monday criticized the timing of the deal and said Iran was not a reliable partner. Washington, which fears Iran's nuclear ambitions are a threat to peace, wants to isolate Iran internationally.