Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani gave veiled threats to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries if Washington followed through with its own threats to coerce countries to stop buying Iranian oil.
"The Americans have claimed they want to completely stop Iran’s oil exports. They don’t understand the meaning of this statement, because it has no meaning for Iranian oil not to be exported," the president was quoted as saying on his website, and in Switzerland on Tuesday.
When asked to clarify his statement by reporters in Bern, Rouhani said: “Assuming that Iran could become the only oil producer unable to export its oil is a wrong assumption. ... The United States will never be able to cut Iran’s oil revenues."
Last Tuesday the U.S. government said it would sanction all importer countries of Iranian oil starting Nov. 4, with no exceptions.
In the past, Iranian officials have said they will block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route in the region if the U.S. took hostile measures toward the country.
In May U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the ‘Iran deal’ signed with the two countries, along with France, Germany, the U.K., Russia, and China. It outlines a way of lifting international sanctions against Iran. In return, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program.
Rouhani said the U.S. pressure will not succeed. "It is incorrect and unwise to imagine that someday all producer countries will be able to export their surplus oil and Iran will not be able to export its oil," he said.
The Iranian president is in Europe to gain support from signatures there, who will all meet with China and Russia on Friday in Vienna to discuss how to keep moving forward with the deal.
"Iran will remain committed to the deal, as long as its interests are preserved," Rouhani said.
"At the meeting, which will be held at the request of Iran, foreign ministers of Iran and five world powers will discuss a proposed European package and measures to protect the agreement," Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.
Since U.S. withdrawal from the agreement European nations have had a hard time convincing businesses on the continent to do business with Iran for fear of U.S. retaliation.
Iran, the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, exports about 2 million barrels of crude oil per day.
The White House said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is promising Trump he can increase his oil production if needed.