TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami shrugged off a recent move by the US administration to end exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying oil from Iran, saying Washington’s plan to cut Tehran’s oil exports to zero is out of the question.
Speaking to the Arabic-language al-Manar TV network, Brigadier General Hatami said Iran has a legitimate right to use all existing facilities and power to counter the sanctions imposed by the US.
However, he added, the US claim of driving the Iranian oil exports down to zero is impractical because the Islamic Republic will be able to continue selling its oil.
The defense minister further highlighted the embargoes’ ineffectiveness and said over the past 40 years, Iran has been faced with the sanctions.
Brigadier General Hatami made the remarks on the sidelines of the eighth Moscow Conference on International Security held from April 23 to 25.
The White House said on Monday that US President Donald Trump “has decided not to reissue” waivers regarding sanctions against countries importing Iranian oil when the waivers expire “in early May”.
The exact deadline is May 2.
“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” the statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders read.
Countries that continue to import Iranian oil in large amounts include India, China, South Korea, Japan and Turkey.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to “ensure an appropriate supply (of oil) for the markets” in order to make up for the loss of Iranian oil in the global market.