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‘US has not thought about consequences of Iran oil ban’

LONDON: President Hassan Rouhani pledged on Wednesday that Iran will stand firm against US threats to cut Iranian oil sales, and said Washington had not thought about the consequences of such a move.

“The Americans say they want to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero… It shows they have not thought about its consequences,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA on an official visit to Vienna.

Rouhani’s comments echoed his remarks on Tuesday when he hinted at a threat to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries if Washington presses ahead with its goal of forcing all countries to stop buying Iranian oil.

Rouhani did not elaborate, but Iranian officials have in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action against Iran.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander praised Rouhani’s remarks on Wednesday, said the Guards were ready to implement such a policy.

Major-General Qassem Soleimani said in a letter published on IRNA: “I kiss your (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.”

Soleimani is the commander of the Quds force, in charge of foreign operations for the Revolutionary Guards.

The United States pulled out of a multinational deal in May to lift sanctions against Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program. Washington has since told countries they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face U.S. financial measures, with no exemptions.

Rouhani, who is now in Vienna trying to salvage the nuclear deal, said U.S. sanctions against Iran were a “crime and aggression”, and called on European governments and others to stand up to Trump’s policies against Tehran.

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