Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz – a key Gulf passage for shipments of commodities – over Washington threatening to sanction any country that fails to stop importing oil from the Islamic Republic by November 4.
“We will make the enemy understand that either everyone can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one,” Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reportedly said in response to the U.S. threat.
The escalation between both nations continued as Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, reportedly said, “Together, we stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was in Europe this week lobbying the remaining signatories to the nuclear pact in an attempt to salvage it following United States President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw America from the agreement in May.
“The Americans have claimed they want to completely stop Iran’s oil exports,” Rouhani reportedly said in Switzerland. “They don’t understand the meaning of this statement because it has no meaning for Iranian oil not to be exported while the region’s oil is exported.”
He added, “If you can do such a thing, do it and see the result.”
His threat was lauded by IRGC-Quds Forces Commander General Qassem Soleimani, who in a letter published on Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), wrote, “I kiss (Rouhani’s) hand for expressing such wise and timely comments, and I am at your service to implement any policy that serves the Islamic Republic.”
China, India, and Turkey are three nations that rely heaviest on Iranian oil imports. The Guardian noted that the U.S. will likely grant those countries temporary exceptions to continue importing Iranian crude.
On Thursday, Iran’s representative to OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardabili, reportedly pleaded for President Donald Trump to “please stop” tweeting because his tweets have raised oil prices by at least $10 dollars.
“With your frequent and indecent tweets oil prices have gone up 10 dollars,” Ardebili was quoted as saying to Trump. “Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least $10 per barrel,” Ardabili said. “Pls stop it, otherwise it will go even higher!”
“Your Excellency٫ there are not that much oil available to respond to your orders; you are hammering on good guys in OPEC, which you are claiming, you are defending the,” Ardabili pleaded. “You are actually discrediting them and undermining their sovereignty, we expect you to be more polite.”