18:50 GMT12 August 2020
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    This week, Washington announced that it would not extend sanctions waivers to major importers of Iranian oil beyond the current May 2 deadline, prompting Iranian lawmakers to threaten a wide range of measures to "counter" US coercion, including the possible closure of the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway.

    Iran prefers negotiation and diplomacy but will not cave to US pressure, President Hassan Rouhani has said. "Accepting such negotiations would mean humiliation and capitulation," he said, speaking at a session of cabinet in Tehran on Wednesday, according to PressTV.

    "We have always been a [country] of negotiation and diplomacy, the same way that we've been a [country] of war and defence. Negotiation is only possible if all the pressures are lifted, they apologise for their illegal actions and there is mutual respect," Rouhani said.

    In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with government officials in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 23, 2018
    © AP Photo / Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader
    According to Rouhani, the US' current Iran policy is "aimed at defeating the Iranian nation" and returning it to the subservient status it faced before the 1979 Revolution.

    Commenting on the US' recent announcement about the end of sanctions waivers, the president stressed that it was "not possible" for the US to monopolise the global oil market, and promised that Iran would continue to sell its oil abroad "using various means." 

    Gulf States Owe Thank You to Tehran

    Commenting on reports that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies plan to make up for the possible oil shortages anticipated if the US moves forward in sanctioning Iranian crude exports, Rouhani noted that these Gulf states wouldn't have existed were it not for Tehran's "rational" policy not to cooperate with Saddam Hussein's Iraq during the Gulf War.

    According to Rouhani, prior to invading Kuwait, Hussein boasted that Iraq "would soon be sharing 800 km of borders [with Iran] in the Persian Gulf. This shows that Saddam was planning to occupy Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Emirates, and Qatar in addition to Kuwait," he noted. "There would have been no trace of these [Gulf] states today" if Tehran had allied with Baghdad, the president stressed. 

    Tensions between Iran and the US escalated in May 2018, when the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and imposed several rounds of increasingly tough sanctions against Tehran. The sanctions included restrictions on Iran's oil exports, with the US promising to eventually bring the country's energy exports down "to zero." In November 2018, Washington granted sanctions waivers for several major importers of Iranian crude, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey. On Monday, Trump said he would not reissue the waivers following a May 2 deadline. 

    Iran has defied US sanctions threats, with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei saying it would continue to export "as much of our oil as we need and want." An Iranian lawmaker has told Sputnik that his country had a range of "tools" with which it could counter US coercion, including the blockade of the Hormuz Strait, the strategic waterway through which some 35 percent of the world's seaborne oil passes.


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