The Iranian Ambassador to Ireland has called on the Irish Government to intervene in a diplomatic row between the United States and his country.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Ambassador Masoud Eslami said that Ireland has the reputation and neutrality to "initiate diplomatic initiatives" to help de-escalate tension in the region.

He also indicated that this could boost Ireland's position in bidding for a United Nations Security Council seat.

The US imposed economic sanctions on Iran after pulling out of a landmark nuclear deal last year.

US President Donald Trump said the agreement did not do enough to curb Iran's ballistic missiles programme and labelled it "horrible".

The penalties have had a damning effect on Iran's economy, with the International Monetary Fund predicting that inflation there could reach 40% this year.

US officials say that the sanctions have denied the Iranian government over $10bn in oil revenue.

"These sanctions have affected Iran in a very similar way that the Irish people have been affected by the famine which was imposed by foreign intervention," Ambassador Eslami said.

Iran has been putting pressure on Europe to convince the US to lift the sanctions, however unhappy with their efforts, Iran breached the nuclear agreement at the beginning of this month by enriching more uranium.

In addition, tension has been growing elsewhere in the Gulf with the US claiming Iran damaged at least six oil tankers this summer.

The US is also looking at ways of creating a military coalition in the Gulf, saying it would safeguard the waters around Iran and Yemen.

Yesterday, President Trump said that a US Navy ship had "destroyed" an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the ship.

Britain too is under pressure to react after Iran intercepted one of its oil vessels in the Gulf in retaliation for seizing an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar, which was allegedly carrying oil to Syria in breach of sanctions.

The Grace 1 ship was detained by Gibraltar earlier this month

The ambassador acknowledged that the relationship between Iran and the UK is strained, but described them as "minor issues".

However, Mr Eslami said that Iran wants to continue to preserve the peace and security in the Persian Gulf region, while "defending our interests decisively and with no hesitation".

Mr Eslami added he trusts Ireland and thinks the country would act in "good faith".

"We understand that Ireland is seeking membership of the United Nations Security Council and this would put Ireland in a better position to get involved, in providing more support to deescalate the tensions in the Persian Gulf," he said.

A spokesperson at the Department of Foreign Affairs said Tánaiste Simon Coveney has consistently called for dialogue and engagement between all parties in the Gulf region.

In a statement to RTÉ News, it said that the Tánaiste met his EU colleagues and discussed the recent rise in tension in the Gulf area at the Foreign Affairs Council this week.

It said: "The EU and its member states have also called on all parties in the area to exercise maximum restraint and to act rationally. Iran is one of the parties to whom these calls have been directed."

The Iranian Ambassador said Ireland also warned that trade between Ireland and Iran could be affected "to a certain degree" if US sanctions on the Islamic Republic continue.

Between March 2018 and March 2019, Ireland sold Iran around €140m worth of goods.

"Iran is open to receive and consider any serious diplomatic initiative in particular by a friendly country like Ireland" Mr Eslami said.

Meanwhile, Europe is desperate to save the deal, stating the latest breaches of the agreement are "not significant".

As the Iranian ambassador thinks Ireland can put pressure on others in Europe, he said he believes the nuclear deal is not dead with the country willing to go back to the negotiation table.