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U.S. plan to end Iranian oil exports 'a fantasy' - Rouhani

U.S. plan to end Iranian oil exports 'a fantasy' - Rouhani

Iranian officials in the past have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile USA action against Iran.

"We are not looking to grant licenses or waivers, because doing so would substantially reduce pressure on Iran, and this is a campaign of imposing pressure", Brian Hook, Director of Policy Planning at the State Department told reporters at a news conference yesterday. Chinese imports of Iranian oil jumped early this year to more than 700,000 barrels a day in March, the last month for which customs data is available.

"Do this if you can and see the consequences".

"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed based on Iran and world's interests", said Rouhani adding "Iran's logic hasn't changed; one party, whose goal is to put pressure on the Iranian nation, has withdrawn from the deal unilaterally".

Iran is OPEC's second-largest crude exporter with more than 2 million barrels a day.

Iran's foreign minister will meet representatives of five world powers to discuss the future of the nuclear deal in Vienna, Reuters quoted the Iranian news agency IRNA as reporting on Tuesday. However, they could be seen as a tacit threat to interfere with the shipping of Iran's neighbors. Speaking at a meeting of senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders in Tehran, Major General Gholam Ali Rashid urged social and political unity in facing up to the United States, Press TV reported.

"I don't think the State Department would have the confidence to say "zero exports" if they didn't have China on board", said Sara Vakhshouri, a veteran of the Iranian state oil company now at SVB Energy International, an energy consultancy.

Rouhani on Monday blasted the re-implementation of USA sanctions on Iran, saying that the penalties had the greatest impact on Iranian citizens.

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He added, "I'm afraid this exercise is not going to have any meaningful impact on the situation", as European countries have already made clear they want to stick to the deal, but can not force companies to stay in the Iranian market in the face of new United States sanctions.

Five other suspects were detained in Belgium and France, authorities in the two countries have said.

President Donald Trump expects all buyers of Iranian oil to curtail all purchases by November 4, with no waivers planned for countries that have few alternatives.

Since President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw in May, calling the agreement deeply flawed, European states have been scrambling to ensure Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to maintain the nuclear curbs required in the deal.

Last month Rouhani visited China, while Zarif embarked on a tour of Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation.

At the time, the Trump administration gave foreign companies either 90 or 180 days to wind down their business with Iranian counterparts, depending on the type of commercial activity.

Among the countries targeted by the U.S. there are India, Turkey, China and South Korea.

But Tehran vowed on Sunday to crush any United States efforts to interfere with its oil exports by allowing private companies to export crude oil. Trump moved to assuage markets over the weekend when he tweeted that he asked Saudi Arabia to boost its oil production, but his claim has yet to be substantiated in Riyadh. "He has agreed!" It is not clear when that agreement will begin implementation.


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