12:17 GMT16 January 2021
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    This week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated Washington's intention to cut Iran's crude oil exports down "to zero as quickly as market conditions will permit." Tensions between the two countries continue to simmer following President Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and resume sanctions last May.

    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has called on his nation to carry out a "maximum mobilisation" of its resources and capabilities to counter US, Israeli and European aggression against his country.

    "The enemies, namely the US and Zionists [Israel], have today mobilised all their capabilities and facilities against the Iranian nation; and on the periphery, the West and Europeans are also showing their animosity toward Iran in some way," Khamenei said, speaking at a meeting of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran on Thursday, the Tasnim News Agency has reported.

    Commenting on US efforts to target Tehran with its "toughest ever" sanctions, the supreme leader warned that the "enemies' hostile pressures" would be met with a powerful Iranian response.

    "They have launched a maximal onslaught against Iran, but if we carry out a maximal mobilisation of facilities and capabilities, by the Grace of God, we will make the United States suffer its heaviest defeat in its history," Khamenei said.

    Laying out nearly a strategy for dealing with the challenges Iran is facing in connection with US sanctions pressure, Khamenei recalled that Tehran has extensive experience in dealing with such pressure, and called for "creative" and "prudent" thinking in confronting the country's adversaries.

    Iran-US relations have been poor for decades, with the two powers having no formal diplomatic ties since shortly after the 1979 Iranian Revolution which toppled the pro-US Shah regime. Relations improved somewhat after Iran, the US, Russia, China and several European states signed the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, providing the country with sanctions relief in exchange for a halt to any nuclear weapons program. However, relations collapsed to a new low in May 2018, after President Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the nuclear deal.


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    mobilization, warning, response, sanctions, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran, US
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