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Iran warns of ‘options’ to neutralize US oil sanctions

Iranian Admiral Ali Shamkhani. (Meghdad Madadi/Tasnim News Agency)

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

A senior Iranian official has said Tehran has many options to neutralize the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on its oil exports, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported on February 23.

The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Council, Ali Shamkhani, also said Tehran’s clerical rulers had no plans to hold talks with Washington.

“Apart from closing the Strait of Hormuz, we have other options to stop the flow of oil if threatened…. The U.S. administration lacks ‘goodwill.’ No need to hold talks with America,” Shamkhani told Tasnim.

He also said Iran has achieved 90 percent of its goals in Syria, Tasnim reported.

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U.S. President Donald Trump in May withdrew from a landmark 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq.

Iran has expanded its missile program, particularly its ballistic missiles.

Other signatories to the nuclear deal — Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia, and the European Union — have been working to keep it alive and have resisted U.S. pressure to abandon the accord.

Shamkhani’s comments come a day after Iranian state media reported that Tehran had launched large-scale naval drills at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

State agency IRNA said that more than 100 vessels were attending the three-day drills held in an area stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean.

Iran has in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action.

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Meanwhile, the UN nuclear watchdog said in its latest report that Iran has abided by the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran stayed within the accord’s uranium enrichment limits and complied with limitations on its stock of enriched uranium.

The report was distributed to IAEA member states on February 22 and reviewed by Western news agencies.

IAEA inspectors also said in the report that they did not find any irregularities related to Iran’s Arak nuclear research reactor, which originally was designed to produce plutonium as a byproduct.