TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's oil ministry says the country is considering exporting oil to North Korea as a way to improve its battered economy.

The official IRNA news agency quoted on Saturday Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi as saying talks are underway between Tehran and Pyongyang on oil exports.

An oil deal would bring the two nations deeply at odds with the U. S. and the West closer together. In September, they signed a scientific and technological cooperation agreement. A delegation from North Korea's oil ministry is currently visiting Iran.

Iranian and North Korean officials have said in the past that their nations are in "one trench" in the confrontation with Western powers.

But Iran has denied a U. N. report saying the two have exchanged ballistic missiles, components and technology in violation of U. N. sanctions.

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