Iran eyes oil for goods barter plan to fight sanctions

Hannah Rogers
July 5, 2018

In a letter to Rouhani on Wednesday, Major General Soleimani described as "a source of pride" the president's comment that if Iran's oil is not allowed to be exported, then there will be no guarantee that other countries in the region would be able to export theirs.

Yet proposals to ensure European finance to bypass American sanctions have been met with skepticism by EU members states faced with threats to exports worth more than $435 billion to the US.

The Iranian president reiterated Tehran's position that it would remain committed to the JCPOA so long as the country can enjoy its "benefits".

Donald Trump's decision to unilaterally exit the Iran nuclear deal and introduce fresh sanctions against Tehran has endangered the longevity of the historic accord. "But history will judge other nations based on what they do today", he said.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said regional oil exports may be threatened if the United States tries to pressure its allies to stop buying Iranian crude oil, the official presidential website reported on Tuesday.

On July 6, the foreign ministers of Iran and the five world powers still party to the nuclear deal - Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany - will meet in the Austrian capital to discuss ways to preserve it in the wake of the US withdrawal. "Companies will stop working with Iran because they understand they will lose American market", he said.

Iranian state media reported on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be in Vienna, Austria for the talks.

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Since Trump's announcement of the USA withdrawal in May, his administration has sought to reimpose sanctions on Iran and has encouraged other countries to do the same.

"Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue on crude oil sales", said Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook.

The US Navy's 5th Fleet, which patrols the region, has said it has not seen any "unsafe and unprofessional" actions by Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf since August 2017. But Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union have vowed to keep the pact alive despite Washington's withdrawal.

The five other powers have all said they still support the deal despite the US decision to withdraw. "You made our dear Leader, the great nation of the Islamic Iran, and the world's Muslims proud by making such valuable and strong statements", he added. Iran has asked the European countries to come up with a new economic package to offset the USA sanctions and preserve the accord.

The United States has warned other countries that they will also face sanctions if they continue to trade with sanctioned areas of the Iranian economy. But European officials acknowledge that USA sanctions make it hard to give Tehran guarantees.

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.

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