Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday appeared to threaten to disrupt other countries’ oil shipments through the Gulf if Washington presses ahead with efforts to halt Iranian oil exports, Reuters reported.
“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 said in a televised speech during a trip to the northern 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 added.
US President Donald Trump withdrew in May from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which he has said is “the worst deal ever negotiated”.
The US has since imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran, the latest of which went into effect in early November. Those sanctions aim to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero in a bid to curb the Islamic Republic’s missile program and regional influence.
Rouhani said on Tuesday the United States would not succeed in cutting Iran’s economic ties with the region and the world.
“The most hostile group in America, with relation to Iran, has taken power. Of course they never had a friendship with the people of Iran and we never trusted America or others 100 percent,” he stressed, according to Reuters.
Rouhani made similar comments in July, noted Reuters. Also in July, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, Ismail Kowsari, was quoted as saying that Tehran would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the United States banned Iranian oil sales.
Iran has threatened more than once to close the Strait of Hormuz, with the United States warning Iran in response that any attempt to close the strait would be viewed as a "red line" -- grounds for US military action.
In the last few years there have been several close encounters between Iranian and American vessels in the area.