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United States plan to end Iranian oil exports 'a fantasy': Rouhani

04 July 2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggested on Monday that the United States' push for its allies to cut off all oil imports from Iran could disrupt other regional oil exports.

"The Americans have claimed they want to completely stop Iran's oil exports".

Factional power struggles are endemic in Iran, where hardliners around the Supreme Leader, such as the Revolutionary Guards and the judiciary, face off against the president, and pragmatists and reformists in elected institutions such as parliament.

Iran is OPEC's second-largest crude exporter with more than 2 million barrels a day and the global price of oil has always been a point of contention for U.S. President Donald Trump.

"These sanctions will include targeting Iran's automotive sector, trade in gold, and other key metals", he said.

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"The EU could, for example, take steps within the WTO to protect its trade relations with Iran against USA sanctions", said Mahdi Ghodsi of the Vienna Institute of International Economic Studies.

Zolnour's allegations work to add fuel to the fire of the ongoing debate in Washington over Obama's failed dealings with Iran - with much evidence being stacked up against the 44th president that he was too easy on the militant Islamic nation and made far too many concessions to stay on friendly terms. It's a point that Trump is sure to drive home when he arrives at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit next week in Brussels, and days later in Moscow when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Iran will allow private companies to export crude oil, part of a strategy to counter U.S. sanctions, and is urging fellow OPEC members, including regional rival Saudi Arabia, not to break output agreements, state media and officials said on Sunday.

Rouhani's comments come as Iran is planning to hold a meeting later this week with the foreign ministers of the five global powers that are still party to a 2015 deal, under which Tehran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

He claimed the citizenship status was conferred as a favor to senior Iranian officials linked to President Hassan Rouhani during negotiations for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - otherwise known as the Iran Deal.

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Meanwhile, a major focus of Trump's campaign is to drive Tehran's economy-sustaining oil exports to zero.

After the Trump Administration announced its intention last week to drive down Iranian exports, oil prices reached their highest point since November 2014 driven, in part, by concerns over supply.

The U.S. Supreme Court added to Iran's troubles of late after upholding Trump's travel ban that included Iran among the seven countries denied entry into the America due to their status of being hotbeds for Islamic terrorism, but worldwide travel is just one of the many dilemmas the Islamic Republic is now facing.

"It is incorrect and unwise to imagine that some day all producer countries will be able to export their surplus oil and Iran will not be able to export its oil", he said.

It was unclear on Tuesday whether Trump had direct knowledge of the alleged exchange.

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The White House said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia's King Salman had promised Trump that he can raise oil production if needed, and that Riyadh has 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity. He said USA teams of State Department and Treasury officials had visited 13 countries in Europe and East Asia so far, to dissuade governments and companies from doing business with Iran.

United States plan to end Iranian oil exports 'a fantasy': Rouhani