Iran nuclear accord: Two months since the USA quit

David Peterlin

David Peterlin

The "threat" amounts to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying a USA attempt to block Iranian exports had "no meaning" so long as regional oil continues to be exported. "We are hopeful that this plan expressed by our president will be implemented if needed", he said.

"This is the first time they have shown this level of commitment, but we will have to see in the future what they really want to do and what they can do", Zarif said.

In 2012, Iran threatened to block the strait in response to sanctions by the United States and the European Union against the country's nuclear program.

In another phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron late on Thursday, Rouhani described Paris' efforts to save the nuclear deal as "positive" but noted that "Europe's proposed package for keeping up cooperation in the JCPOA does not meet all our expectations".

Iranian officials have said that key for them is to ensure measures that guarantee oil exports do not halt, and that Tehran still has access to the SWIFT worldwide bank payments messaging system or an alternative.

The U.S. Navy stands ready to ensure free navigation and the flow of commerce, the U.S. military's Central Command said on Thursday, as Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned they would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.

"We are ready for all possible scenarios. the collapse of the deal will increase the tension in the region".

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reads a statement after a meeting in Vienna, Austria, on July 6, 2018.

In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in June, President Rouhani said Russia plays a key role in maintaining the nuclear deal after U.S. withdrawal.

Washington has since told countries they must stop buying the OPEC producer's oil from November or face financial consequences.

"Maintaining access to these markets is a quasi life-or-death issue for the [bank]" because it has $120 billion of bonds held by investors worldwide that must be continually rolled over and refinanced, Director-General Bertrand de Mazieres said in May.

Three European parties to the Iranian nuclear deal, as well as Russia and China, have agreed to create a special mechanism to maintain trade with Iran independently from Washington, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said this week that the country would prevent any oil from being exported through the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping lane between Iran and Oman. "To save the deal, other signatories should compensate for USA sanctions", a senior Iranian official told Reuters on Friday.

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.

"We advise businesses that want to keep investing (in Iran), we want to keep payment systems open, and we want to build security through widening the mandate of the European Investment Bank", he said.

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