No oil will go through Persian Gulf if Iran cannot export crude
The United States will not be able to stop Iran exporting its oil and any move to prevent Iranian crude shipments passing through the Persian Gulf would lead to all oil exports through the waterway being blocked, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.
“America should know that we are selling our oil and will continue to sell our oil and they are not able to stop our oil exports,” Rouhani at a televised rally during a trip to the northeastern Iranian city of Shahroud.
“If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf,” he said.
The Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf is crucial to global energy supplies.
Donald Trump withdrew from a multilateral UN-sponsored nuclear deal in May and reinstated sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The deal, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed between Iran, the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany which lifted the sanctions for limiting Iran’s nuclear activities. The US is also trying to curb the Islamic Republic’s missile program and regional influence. Iran’s missile program is absolutely for defense purposes.
The US has vowed to reduce Iran's oil sales to zero, but has granted temporary waivers to eight countries.
Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States after US Trump withdrew the deal.
Rouhani said the United States would not succeed in cutting Iran’s economic ties with the region and the world.
“We will expand our relationship with neighbors, Muslim countries, and the world,” Rouhani said. The Islamic Republic, he added, is not adversarial toward any of its neighbors.
Rouhani last threatened to block oil flow from the Persian Gulf in July when he warned the US "should not play with the lion's tail." His threat was welcomed by many Iranian officials, including Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps’ powerful Quds Force.
The president downplayed the economic impact of sanctions, accusing the media of exaggerating the country's problems.
"No hyperinflation, no massive unemployment will threaten us. People should stop saying such things in the papers," he told the crowd.
The latest inflation report from Iran's central bank says food prices rose 56 percent year-on-year in October.
Rouhani acknowledged there were "some problems", but said these would be addressed in the new budget plan to be presented on December 16.
He said the government would maintain subsidies on essential goods and increase public sector wages and pensions by 20 percent.
The president further underscored the Iranian nation’s “great victories” of the past 40 years in the fight against “the oppressive and tyrannical enemy,” referring to the US.
He further pointed out a number of defeats the US has suffered in its hostile plots, including staging a coup, undermining the economy through sanctions and breaking away the southern province of Khuzestan from the country.
The US and Israel cannot tolerate the existence of a powerful Iran, he said, adding that the Iranian nation would never bow down to them.
Rouhani said the US animosity towards Iran has drawn no backing except from the Tel Aviv regime and a few small states, adding that Washington has even failed to win support for such a policy at the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.
“Our nation will not allow a smile to appear on the face of the enemy,” he stated. “We will build an Iran, which is more powerful than ever before.”
Iranian Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri also said on Tuesday that US sanctions were hitting vulnerable people in Iran.
“When Americans say their target is the Iranian government and there won’t be pressure on the sick, the elderly and the weak in society, it’s a lie,” Jahangiri said.
Reuters, AFP, AP and Press TV contributed to this story.