Rouhani calls European Union trio package to save nuclear deal 'disappointing'

David Peterlin

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Swiss counterpart, Alain Berset, in Bern on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at American officials for threatening to stop Iran's oil exports, saying they would never be able to carry out such a threat. Washington has since told countries they must stop buying the OPEC producer's oil from November 4 or face financial consequences.

They are trying to present this as a response to an Iranian "threat" to close the area.

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the chief IRGC commander, made the remarks in reference to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani's recent statement that if Iran can not export its crude oil through the Hormuz Strait, no other country would be able to do so.

Asked by Reuters what would be the US Naval Forces' reaction if Iran blocks the strait, he said: "Together, we stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever global law allows".

An Iranian warship and speed boats take part in a naval war game in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, southern Iran April 22, 2010.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday their forces were ready to block the strait, which links the Gulf to the Arabian Sea.

This was extrapolated by United States officials as a threaten to shut down all regional oil shipping, when it could just as easily be interpreted as noting that Iran can basically export its oil under the guise of it coming from other regional countries, which is common behavior during sanctions.

Mercedes admit they cost Lewis Hamilton victory but dismiss need for change
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"All the commitments made today, should be implemented before the August deadline.it is up to the leadership in Tehran to decide whether Iran should remain in the deal. the proposal was not precise and a complete one", Mohammed Javad Zarif told reporters.

US President Donald Trump signs a document reinstating sanctions against Iran after announcing the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2018.

In calls Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said since the US withdrawal "Iran has been dealing with economic issues and problems in banking relations and oil" and that foreign companies were "skeptical" about continuing their business, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported. Rouhani also talked with the German chancellor in a separate phone call.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have agreed to continue talking, including on economic measures, over how to save the nuclear deal after the United States withdrawal.

Ahead of the meeting, Zarif also held bilateral talks with Mogherini, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, according to Iranian news reports.

Iran, which strongly denies ever seeking to build a nuclear bomb, has warned it could resume uranium enrichment for civilian purposes if the deal collapses.

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