Five of Iran’s top leaders have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic. Why is President Donald Trump unfazed in his resolve to tighten sanctions on the Islamic Republic?
On Sunday, April 28, Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Gen. Mohammed Bagheri said: “We are not after closing the Strait of Hormuz. If our oil does not go through the strait, other countries’ oil will certainly not cross the strait too.” Bagheri was echoing supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and Guards Navy chief Rear Adm. Alireza Tangsiri.
Unfazed by this collective threat, the Trump administration has not backed off from its decision to cancel the oil embargo exemptions granted to eight of Iran’s biggest oil importers, including China, India and South Korea. In fact, a new set of penalties are in store.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that the cancellation of the waivers will slash Iran’s oil sales down from 1.1m barrels per day to half a million. But that’s just for starters. The next round of penalties aims to lower the figure to zero.