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Zarif: We Will Act With Prudence in Response to US Sanctions

Zarif: We Will Act With Prudence in Response to US Sanctions

Thursday, 25 April, 2019 - 10:30
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif - in New York - US April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Asharq Al-Awsat

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Iran would act with “prudence” in response to what he saw as dangerous policies by the United States.

In an interview with Reuters, Zarif said his country would still allow US warships to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil artery.

“Ships can go through the Strait of Hormuz.”

Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to strangle Tehran oil exports.

However, Zarif noted: “If the United States wanted to continue to observe the rules of engagement, the rules of the game, the channels of communication, the prevailing protocols, then in spite of the fact that we consider US presence in the Persian Gulf as inherently destabilizing, we’re not going to take any action.”

He also hinted that Tehran would be resilient in the face of US sanctions.

“I mean there are always ways of going around the sanctions. We have a PhD in that area,” he said.

Zarif also called the decision on the IRGC “absurd,” but suggested that Iran did not plan to respond militarily unless the United States changed the rules of engagement guiding how it interacts with Iran’s forces.

“We will exercise prudence but it doesn’t mean that if the United States changed the rules of the game, or changed the rules of engagement, it would be able to get away with that,” stressed Zarif, according to Reuters.

The United States has accused Tehran of destabilizing the Middle East and helping to prop up Syrian Head of regime Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that began in 2011.

Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, the overseas arm of the IRGC, appeared on frontlines across Syria.

Zarif acknowledged that oil sanctions hurt ordinary Iranians and the government would do whatever it could to sell oil to provide for its citizens.

When asked who else Iran might consider selling oil to, Zarif said: “If I told you, we won’t be able to sell it to them.”

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