Sputnik – President Donald Trump’s administration has repeatedly stressed that Washington seeks to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero in a bid to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme and regional influence.
The United States should know that if Iran is prevented from exporting oil then no country will be able to do it from the Persian Gulf, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV.
The Islamic Republic’s officials previously threatened to retaliate against US sanctions on its oil exports by closing the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway linking Middle East crude producers to crucial world markets.
Most recently, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to confront Iranian ‘threats’ by putting maximum pressure on the country.
On 5 November, Washington imposed fresh unilateral restrictions on Iran’s energy, shipping, and financial industries, with a stated goal of reducing its oil exports to zero.
In the wake of the introduction of the new package of sanctions, Rouhani pledged to continue selling oil despite the ‘illegal and unjust’ restrictions:
‘The fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran can sell its oil and will sell its crude… even if these countries [buyers] have not been offered waivers. We would have been selling our oil with honour… We will break these sanctions with honour, because these sanctions are cruel and are against international law’, he was cited by Press TV as saying.
The Trump administration decided to grant temporary waivers to eight countries that will allow them to continue importing Iranian oil if they cut their purchases.
The sanctions were introduced following President Trump’s decision to pull out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran under which the restrictions had been lifted. The first round of sanctions took effect in August.
Other signatories to the deal — Russia, China, France, Germany and the UK — have reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement and have been struggling to bypass the US restrictions.