Iran Threatens To Close Key Oil Choke Point

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a public speech during a trip to the northern Iranian city of Shahroud

Iran President Hassan Rouhani has threatened again to close the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for almost a third of all oil traded by sea.

Iran has issued repeated threats to blockade Gulf states and shut the Strait of Hormuz, a major conduit for oil and other exports from the GCC area, in response to global pressure.

It has vowed to reduce Iran's oil sales to zero, but has granted temporary waivers to eight countries.

Rouhani made similar comments in July.

On Tuesday Iranian state broadcasts carried his words, saying "if someday, the United States decides to block Iran's oil (exports), no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf".

The president downplayed the economic impact of sanctions, accusing the media of exaggerating the country's problems. In return, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other Iranian officials warned the U.S. against attempting to curb Tehran's oil trade, promising to block the Strait of Hormuz, the only exit from the Persian Gulf - one of the key sources of oil exports in the world.

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Rouhani said the U.S. animosity towards Iran has drawn no backing except from the Tel Aviv regime and a few small states, adding that Washington has even failed to win support for such a policy at the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.

"We have been very clear with the Iranian regime that we will not hesitate to use military force when our interests are threatened".

Over the weekend, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran tested a medium-range missile capable of carrying multiple warheads and striking parts of Europe and the entire Middle East.

"The most hostile group in America, with relation to Iran, has taken power", Rouhani said, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (Irna).

Tehran's foreign ministry said its missile arsenal did not break worldwide law, despite the USA slapping more sanctions on Iran over the programme.

The carrier deployment, though previously scheduled, was announced after the USA condemned Iran's test firing a medium-range nuclear capable ballistic missile on Sunday.

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