Saturday, 22 September, 2018

IRGC threatens Gulf oil trade after Rouhani warning

Despite impact on prices, U.S. will aim to bring Iran's oil revenue to zero Hassan Rouhani calls Trump plan to end Iranian oil exports 'a baseless fantasy'
Glenn Montgomery | 05 July, 2018, 02:34

The Trump administration's demand that all countries quit importing Iranian oil outright starting in November won't just be a tough sell diplomatically - it also threatens to derail the USA administration's own effort to push down high crude prices.

"This is really a baseless fantasy", he added, condemning an "unjust" scenario in which all oil producers are allowed to export crude except Iran.

The five other powers have all said they still support the deal despite the US decision to withdraw.

The withdrawal has paved the way for new USA sanctions against Tehran and foreign companies that trade or invest with it, causing several major businesses, including in Austria, to stop activity in the country.

On Tuesday, the Iranian president appeared to threaten to cut oil shipments from neighboring countries if Washington presses ahead with its goal of forcing all countries to stop buying Iranian oil.

"But history will judge other nations based on what they do today", Rouhani said during a visit to Vienna.

"Iran will survive this round of USA sanctions as it has survived before".

The State Department said Monday it would examine waivers on a "case-by-case basis" as it re-imposes sanctions.

Government officials called speculation over the cancellation "unfounded". "The United States will never be able to cut Iran's oil revenues".

Rouhani told reporters that if the remaining signatories - the Europeans Britain, France and Germany as well as China and Russian Federation - can guarantee Iran's benefits: "Iran will remain in the nuclear deal without the United States".

The Iranian president reiterated Tehran's position that it would remain committed to the JCPOA so long as the country can enjoy its "benefits".

Switzerland - where significant parts of the pact known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were negotiated - will work to ensure that future United States sanctions do not target any humanitarian goods, Bern said in a statement.

The company also said it "has the ability to increase oil production by several hundred thousand barrels of oil per day, should this be required to help alleviate any potential supply shortage in the market".

"These three countries account for about half of Iran's oil exports", it said.

Hanegbi's remarks came before senior diplomats from Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation meet in Vienna on Friday, aiming to safeguard a pact reached in 2015.

And China, Iran's biggest buyer, will be even tougher to persuade to limit purchases.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested the arrests, which were announced as he and President Hassan Rohani began the trip, were a "false flag" operation. They can talk sensitively.

Separately, Iran's interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli warned Tuesday that "if we close our eyes for 24 hours, 1 million refugees will go toward Europe through our Western borders" via Turkey.

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