Iran has promised “surprise” measures to counter the reinstatement of US sanctions on its oil exports amid other options, months after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama and signed by five other world powers.
The deal was aimed at preventing Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for economic incentives, including the lifting of previously imposed, punishing sanctions. The US pulled out of the agreement in May 2018 and has been urging the remaining signatories — the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China — to abandon it as well.
In an interview published on Friday with the Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that should other countries bow to US pressure and refuse to buy Iranian oil, Tehran has “other options” at its disposal.
When pressed on what Iran intends to do, Zarif replied: “Trump loves the element of surprise, so we’ll entertain him.”
Zarif said “the international community must decide whether it is in their interest to let the US go through its illegal diktats.”
“Europeans must ask themselves: if they allow this precedent, what will they do if the US demands an end to trade with China?” he added.
On Saturday, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani told the Iranian news agency Tasnim that Tehran is weighing several options, among them disrupting oil shipments.
“Apart from closing [the] Strait of Hormuz, we have other options to stop oil flow if threatened… The US administration lacks ‘goodwill,’ no need to hold talks with America,” he said.
“Iran has plans in place that will neutralize the illegal US sanctions against Iran’s oil exports,” Shamkhani was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The remaining signatories to the Iran nuke deal, along with the European Union, have so far shown no inclination to abandon the agreement. They instead have tried to provide Iran with enough economic incentives to keep it alive.
Last month, Britain, France and Germany established a barter-type system known as INSTEX that is designed to allow their businesses to skirt direct financial transactions with Iran and thereby evade possible US sanctions. Plans call for the payment system to be run from Germany as a financial institution.
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