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Monday , November 19 2018

Hormuz for all or no one: Guards; We’ll open it: US

Russia to do everything possible to keep N-deal

LONDON, July 5 (Agencies): The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday their forces were ready to implement Iran’s threat to block the Strait of Hormuz and that if Iran cannot sell its oil under the US pressure, no other regional country will be allowed to.

“We are hopeful that this plan expressed by our president will be implemented if needed … We will make the enemy understand that either all can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one,” Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

The US Navy stands ready to ensure free navigation and the fl ow of commerce, the US 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.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened in recent days to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to cut Tehran’s exports. Praising Rouhani’s “firm stance” against the United States, the head of the Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday their forces were ready to block the strait which links the Gulf to the open sea.

In May, US President Donald Trump pulled out of a multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear programme. Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from Nov 4 or face financial measures. If Iran cannot sell its oil under US pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to either, said Mohammad Ali Jafari, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most powerful military force.

The Strait of Hormuz is the most important oil transit channel in the world with about onefifth of global oil consumption passing through each day. “The US and its partners provide, and promote security and stability in the region,” Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Bill Urban said in an email to Reuters. Asked what would be the US Naval Forces’ reaction if Iran blocks the strait, he said: “Together, we stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free fl ow of commerce wherever international law allows.” The Guards’ naval arm lacks a strong conventional fl eet. However, it has many speed boats and portable anti-ship missile launchers, and can lay mines. A senior US military leader said in 2012 the Guards have the ability to block the strait “for a period of time” but the United States would take action to reopen it in such an event.

Iran’s representative to OPEC says US President Donald Trump should stop tweeting about wanting lower oil prices, saying that doing so has the opposite effect. Hossein Kazempour Ardebili was quoted by the oil ministry’s website Thursday as telling Trump to “please stop,” adding that “with your frequent and indecent tweets oil prices have gone up 10 dollars.” Trump has repeatedly called on the oil cartel to reduce prices. On Wednesday he tweeted that OPEC is “doing little to help,” adding that, “if anything, they are driving prices higher.” Tehran blames rising prices on US sanctions imposed on Iran and Venezuela, founding members of the cartel.

Last month, members of OPEC agreed to pump an additional 1 million barrels of crude daily, a move that should help contain prices. Russia will do everything possible to maintain the global nuclear deal with Iran, the foreign ministry in Moscow was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency on Thursday. France on Thursday rejected Iranian accusations that it backs an exiled opposition group that was the possible target of a bomb plot near Paris last week, saying an investigation would determine the real sponsors of the planned attack. Iran’s foreign ministry on Tuesday summoned envoys from France, Germany and Belgium in protest at the arrest of an Iranian diplomat in Germany in connection with the alleged plan to bomb the annual National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) rally on the outskirts of Paris on June 30.

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