Iran may block oil export from Gulf, says President Rouhani

Blanche Robertson
December 6, 2018

Rouhani also pledged that the USA wouldn't be able to prevent Iran from exporting its crude oil.

Tehran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz and halt Persian Gulf oil exports if its own tankers are blocked from using the waterway.

The US had initially vowed to reduce Iran's oil sales to "zero" under the bans, but it later backed down and granted waivers to nearly all of Tehran's major crude buyers.

Rouhani made similar comments in July.

The United States has made 11 attempts to begin negotiations with Iran in the last two years, all rejected by Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Iran's president downplayed the economic impact of sanctions, accusing the media of exaggerating the country's problems. "People should stop saying such things in the papers", he told the crowd.

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Mr Rouhani acknowledged there were "some problems", but said these would be addressed in the new budget plan to be presented on December 16.

Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a multilateral nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

He said the government would maintain subsidies on essential goods and increase public-sector wages and pensions by 20 per cent. In return, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other Iranian officials warned the USA against attempting to curb Tehran's oil trade, promising to block the Strait of Hormuz, the only exit from the Persian Gulf - one of the key sources of oil exports in the world.

Rouhani did not say which subjects the United States wanted to negotiate about and nor did he specify whether he was referring to the Iranian calendar year, which begins in March. They were after separating Khuzestan province, imposing sanctions against the country, and undermining Iran's power, but they failed.

Tehran's foreign ministry said its missile arsenal did not break global law, despite the United States slapping more sanctions on Iran over the programme.

Iran did not confirm or deny that it carried out a missile test, but Tehran has insisted it is not pursuing nuclear weapons and the missiles and not created to carry nukes.

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