Iranian leaders vow Gulf blockade if their oil exports are cut off; U.S. leaders warn of cyberwar
In a speech to foreign ministry staff Saturday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated President Hassan Rouhani’s suggestion earlier this month that if the United States succeeds in cutting off his nation’s oil exports, the Tehran government may block other nations’ oil shipments through the Persian Gulf. That would cut off sea passage of oil from Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. About a fifth of the world’s oil production moves through the Gulf. Iran’s biggest oil customers are China, India, and Korea.
This isn’t the first time that Iranian officials have warned that they might retaliate against U.S. actions by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the 31-mile-wide passage between the Persian Gulf into the open ocean.
During his speech, Khamenei, who has ultimate authority in Iran over matters of foreign policy and defense, rejected new talks with the United States, saying, «The word and even the signature of the Americans cannot be relied upon, so negotiations with America are of no avail.» His remarks appeared on his website and were reported by the state-owned PressTV.
Meanwhile, citing several unnamed “senior U.S. officials,” NBCNews reported Friday that Iran is making preparations for a broad cyberattack against the United States. Such an attack is not imminent, they say.
In May, the Trump regime unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement—known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—and said it would reimpose economic sanctions. A “snap back” provision in that agreement allows the negotiating parties to reimpose sanctions if Iran violates the nuclear agreement. The body charged with periodically determining whether the parties are fulfilling their obligations in that agreement has repeatedly reported that Iran is in full compliance.
The first set of sanctions will be reimposed on Iran’s automotive sector, gold trade, and other industries in just two weeks, on Aug. 4. Sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and the oil industry will come into effect November 6.
The other signatories to the multilateral nuclear agreement—the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China—have sought to keep the agreement alive despite the U.S. withdrawal. Russia and China are dead set against going along with reimposed sanctions. That may also be true of Germany, the U.K., and France since the U.S. refused last week to grant them exemptions on sanctions. The U.S. has pushed aggressive diplomatic efforts to get those and other nations to go along with the reimposed sanctions.