15:44 GMT +314 October 2019
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    An oil tanker is seen off the port of Bandar Abbas, southern Iran (File)

    Iranian Army Ready to Protect Oil Tankers Against Any Threats - Official

    © AFP 2019 / ATTA KENARE
    Middle East
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    The stark warning by Mahmoud Mousavi, a deputy commander of the regular army, comes just days after the US introduced its second round of anti-Tehran sanctions, targeting the country's energy and finance sectors.

    Mahmoud Mousavi, a deputy commander of Iran's regular army, said that the armed forces were ready to protect the nation's oil tankers against any threats, Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on Monday.

    "Iran's armed forces… are prepared today as in the past to protect our fleet of oil tankers against any threats so that it can continue to use marine waterways," Mousavi said.

    Iran previously threatened to respond to US sanctions on its oil exports by closing the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway linking Middle East crude producers to crucial world markets.

    READ MORE: Trump: Iran Sanctions Waivers Won't Drive Oil Prices Up to $150 Per Barrel

    Following the introduction of the second package of US sanctions on 5 November, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to continue selling oil despite the 'illegal and unjust' restrictions.

    "The fact is that the Islamic Republic of Iran can sell its oil and will sell its crude… even if these countries [buyers of Iranian oil] have not been offered waivers. We would have been selling our oil with honour… We will break these sanctions with honour, because these sanctions are cruel and are against the international law," Rouhani was quoted by Press TV as saying.

    Last week, TankerTrackers.com, a watchdog that monitors global oil shipments, alleged that all Iranian ships had switched off their transponders to bypass international tracking systems weeks before the US sanctions took effect.

    The US imposed new unilateral restrictions on Iran's energy sector, shipping, ship-building and financial industries on November 5, with the US Treasury Department adding more than 700 names to its blacklist of Iranian entities.

    The US has, however, decided to grant temporary waivers to eight countries that will allow them to continue importing Iranian oil if they significantly cut their purchases.

    oil, oil tankers, army, sanctions, Strait of Hormuz, Iran, United States
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