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Iran vows ‘equal countermeasures’ if US moves to block oil exports

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Meng Tao/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran will respond with equal countermeasures if the United States moves to block its oil exports, the Foreign Ministry says.

“If America wants to take a serious step in this direction it will definitely be met with a reaction and equal countermeasures from Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted as saying by the government news agency IRNA on July 24.

The United States has told countries that they must stop buying Iranian oil from November or face consequences.

The warning came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced in May that he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and moving to reimpose tough sanctions.

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The deal with six world powers provided Iran with some relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has backed President Hassan Rohani’s suggestion that Iran may block oil exports from the Persian Gulf if its own exports are stopped.

Tensions have increased between the two countries in past days.

Trump warned Rohani on Twitter earlier this week to “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

The tweet appeared to be in response to Rohani saying any conflict with Iran would be “the mother of all wars.”

Tehran dismissed Trump’s warning on Twitter, which he wrote in capital letters.

Mimicking Trump’s tweet, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif replied, “UNIMPRESSED … We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS!”

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Speaking on July 24, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Trump’s tweet did not deserve a response, saying his comments were “undiplomatic and demagogic.”

“The United States is experiencing disorder and wildness in its diplomatic relations,” Larijani was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

With reporting by Reuters, IRNA, and Mehr