Iran threatens to reduce cooperation with United Nations nuclear watchdog

Despite impact on prices, U.S. will aim to bring Iran's oil revenue to zero

Iranian officials in the past have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile USA action against Iran.

Hook said USA officials are traveling around the world meeting with American allies to try to persuade them to cooperate with the sanctions.

Washington has since told countries they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from November 4.

Rouhani, in Vienna trying to salvage the nuclear deal, said US sanctions were a "crime and aggression", and called on European and other governments to stand up to Trump. "By succumbing to the pressure of U.S., India has not only risked its age-old ties with Tehran, but also demonstrated its weak diplomacy", the opinion piece further said. This week the U.S. State Department reiterated its intention to get tough with all countries engaging with Iran for trade, energy and infrastructure projects.

When asked at a news conference in the Swiss capital of Bern later on Tuesday whether those comments constituted a threat to interfere with the shipping of neighboring countries, Rouhani said, "Assuming that Iran could become the only oil producer unable to export its oil is a wrong assumption ..."

Government officials called speculation over the cancellation "unfounded".

Iran now exports around 2 million barrels per day of its oil from a total production of over three million barrels per day.

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An EU spokesperson said Brussels is in regular contact with Washington regarding the oil sanctions and stressed that "the EU remains fully committed to the nuclear deal and to the full and effective lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran". Rouhani has said Iran will stay in the accord if its interests are preserved.

"Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue on crude oil sales", said Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook. "We can not pre-judge what the United States will be doing", said a source.

The sources said the USA was prepared to work with countries that are reducing their oil imports on a case-to-case basis.

Foreign ministers from the five remaining signatories will meet Iranian officials in Vienna on Friday to discuss how to keep the accord alive.

And China, Iran's biggest buyer, will be even tougher to persuade to limit purchases.

According to the sources, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had not given any assurance to her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif about oil import from Iran when they held talks here in May.

The administration's tough new stance on Iranian exports, which goes far beyond what the Obama administration demanded and what most market experts were expecting, suggests that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia have agreed to make up whatever Iranian production is taken out of the market, Vakhshouri said. Saudi Arabia is planning to push up oil production to record levels of about 11 million barrels per day starting in July, Reuters reported Tuesday.

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