We will keep Gulf open despite Iran threat

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

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

The Iranian leader issued the stark warning that Tehran would not be alone in seeing its oil sales drop should the U.S. force the shutdown of its order book as he toured Europe this week.

The five other powers have all said they still support the deal despite the US decision to withdraw. "Question is what do we see as our national interest and how we respond to [the pressure], and how do we make our case to the USA", a source said, adding that USA officials have given "informal indications" that they understood India's reasoning for progressing on its Chabahar port and railway project.

It also highlighted that the oil ministry's order to refiners "to prepare for drastic reduction or zero import of Iranian oil from November" was passed a day after United States ambassador to UN Nikki Haley visited India.

But Iran's foreign minister dismissed the alleged plot as a "false flag ploy" created to overshadow Rouhani's tour.

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"Iran will survive this round of USA sanctions as it has survived them before". This week the U.S. State Department reiterated its intention to get tough with all countries engaging with Iran for trade, energy and infrastructure projects.

In a letter to Rouhani on Wednesday, General Soleimani said it was a source of pride and honour to read his comment that if Iran's oil is not allowed to be exported through the Persian Gulf, then there will be no guarantee that other countries in the region would be able to export theirs.

Government officials called speculation over the cancellation "unfounded".

Iran, the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, exports about 2 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Rouhani said the new US pressure would never succeed.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has pledged his country will stand firm against threats by the United States to halt Iranian oil shipments.

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.

An EU spokesperson said Brussels is in regular contact with Washington regarding the oil sanctions and stressed that "the EU remains fully committed to the nuclear deal and to the full and effective lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran".

Tehran announced on Wednesday that it will buy goods only from those nations which purchase Iranian oil.

The top diplomats of Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation will join Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Austrian capital, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported, for their first talks together on the deal since Washington pulled out earlier this year. "The Iranians expect the others to say what we are going to do to keep the deal alive". On Saturday, Trump wrote on Twitter that he had received assurances from King Salman of Saudi Arabia that the kingdom will increase oil production, "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels" in response to turmoil in Iran and Venezuela.

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