Iran’s short-range missile can reach US fleet in Gulf – Revolutionary Guards deputy commander

The deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has said that the US fleet in the Gulf is already within striking distance of his country’s short range missiles, adding that the US could not sustain a new war in the region.

“Even our short-range missiles can easily reach (US) warships in the Gulf,” Mohammad Saleh Jokar, the IRGC’s deputy for parliamentary affairs, was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying Friday. Jokar added that the US would be unable to sustain a conflict with Iran on account of financial, personnel and social reasons.

It marks the latest escalation in a war of words between the two countries as tensions mount amid renewed sanctions and political pressure from the US, along with a build-up of US forces in the region.

Also on rt.com US war with Iran would be a disaster with ripple effects that ‘could last decades’...

“Iran is not after a conflict in the region but has always defended its interests powerfully and will do so now too,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday.

US carriers always deploy as part of a battlegroup so Iran’s large fleet of smaller fast boats would find it very difficult to get within striking distance without themselves being destroyed by US surface warships.

Also on rt.com 2 US destroyers enter Persian Gulf amid tensions with Iran...

The guided missile destroyers USS Gonzalez and USS McFaul recently joined the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group on stand-by off the coast of Oman.

In recent years, Iran has developed the Khalij Fars (‘Persian Gulf’) anti-ship ballistic missile, which uses infrared guidance to slam a 1,433lb warhead into moving naval targets. Iran also unveiled the Mach 4 version of the Khalij Fars, the Hormuz -1 and -2 which is designed to seek out enemy radar systems and destroy them.

The Persian Gulf is quite narrow (ranging from 35 miles to 220 miles across in parts), for a carrier battle group and could afford the IRGC the opportunity to amass launchers within range of the US fleet with relative ease.

The consequences of any armed conflict between Iran and the US “would be literally incalculable” according to James Jatras, a former US diplomat and GOP Senate policy adviser.

Also on rt.com US speaks of peace talks, while ‘holding a gun’ at Tehran – top Iranian...

“One doesn’t really know where this goes next – let’s suppose Iran strikes the UAE or the Saudi oil fields or strikes the Israelis ... then what do those parties do next?” Jatras told RT.com, emphasizing that the conflict would quickly escalate to include US regional allies in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“Especially the Israelis who everybody knows have nuclear weapons. Although I doubt very much they would use those unless they were really down to an existential threat.”

Jatras also warned that “Moscow and Beijing would be foolish to stand back and watch the US take another piece off the chessboard” despite Pompeo’s attempts at warning the Kremlin against involvement in any potential conflict with Iran.

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‘There won’t be any war’ between Iran & US – Khamenei

Despite a spike in tensions between Iran and the US, the two nations won’t engage in a military conflict – but there will also be no new nuclear deal, Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said.

“There won’t be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance,” Khamenei said as cited by Iran’s state TV.

“We don't seek a war, and they don't either,” he added, insisting that the Americans are well aware that a military confrontation with Iran is “not in their interests.”

READ MORE: NATO ally Spain pulls warship from US strike group ‘to avoid being dragged into conflict with Iran’

The Supreme Leader also said that Tehran won’t engage in any talks on signing a new nuclear deal with Washington. “[Such] negotiations are a poison,” Khamenei said.

Also on rt.com US war with Iran would be a disaster with ripple effects that ‘could last decades’...

A year ago, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, leaving the other signees in Russia, China, and Europe in shock. The deal saw Tehran curbing its controversial uranium enrichment capacity, which could have potentially seen it developing a nuclear bomb, in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against the country.

But the US president called it “the worst deal ever” and insisted that a new accord, which would also include Tehran’s ballistic missile program, must be signed.

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Since then, Trump had been using all means to force Iran to sit behind the negotiations table by increasing sanctions pressure on the country, with oil exports being the prime target.

The US has recently deployed an aircraft carrier group near the Iranian shores and sent B-52 bombers on patrol in the Persian Gulf. However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has assured that the buildup wasn’t preparations for war with Tehran.

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Iran tells foreign envoys it will 'stop implementation' of some nuclear deal commitments

Iran told ambassadors from the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia that it will renege on “some commitments” under the 2015 nuclear deal, but will not quit the pact completely.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani appeared Wednesday on national TV to announce the decision to scale down implementation of the 2015 deal, which is officially called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He said the Iranian move was reciprocal action to US complete withdrawal from it under President Donald Trump.

Rouhani announced that Tehran will be gradually suspending its commitments under the deal, giving other parties subsequent periods of 60 days to negotiate a reversal of those actions. He blamed European signatories of failing to compensate to Iran the damage done by US unilateral sanctions after Washington broke its part of the bargain.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif earlier told reporters Tehran would be backing out of some "voluntary commitments" under the 2015 agreement as a response to the EU's inability to stand up to the pressure of Washington's attempts to isolate Iran.

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The JCPOA was signed under Barack Obama and offered Iran lifting of international and unilateral economic sanctions in exchange for voluntarily restricting its nuclear program. The document was signed by Iran, China, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, the US and the EU.

Trump sided with Israel in calling the agreement “the worst deal ever” and refused to keep Washington’s part of the bargain in May last year. The US has since re-imposed the unilateral sanctions, which had been lifted from Iran under the JCPOA terms, and is currently seeking to cripple its oil export by targeting buyers with secondary sanctions.

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Iran: US Sanctions Hasn't Halted Oil Sales

The Trump administrations' attempt to hinder Persian oil exports has failed.

Despite US sanctions, Iran has sold all its oil, said the first vice president of the Persian country, Eshaq Yahanquiri.

RELATED: US Reimposes Iran sanctions, Tehran Slams Trump's 'Bullying'

"The Americans say they will reduce the sale of Iranian oil to zero, but I must say that, to date, we sold all the quantities of oil we needed," he said.

Yahanquiri denounced the U.S. governments' committment to damaging the Iranian economy with a psychological war.

"No government in Europe, Africa and Asia support US sanctions, except Israel and a couple of countries in the region," said the Iranian vice-president.

The Trump administration restored economic sanctions against Iran on Nov.5, seeking thus to reduce drain the Iranian government's main source of revenue. This new wave of sanctions is also aimed at breaking the Iranian banks' ties with the international financial system.

Although the U.S. goal was to reduce Iranian oil exports to "zero," economic interdependencies forced Trump to backtrack and break his promise.

In the near future Persian oil exports could even increase as the Trump administration granted 'waivers' to China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey. These countries, who are Iran's biggest energy clients, will be able to buy the Persian oil for another 180 days.

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United States Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

Washington, Nov 5 (Prensa Latina) More than 700 individuals, entities, ships and aircraft from Iran, mostly in the banking and energy sectors,
will be the target of additional U.S. sanctions since Monday.

Likewise, due to these measures, rejected by Iran , other areas such as maritime transport and naval construction will be affected.

Such punishments will follow similar ones applied last August as a result of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the nuclear pact reached between Tehran and six world powers in 2015.

Transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and Iran's designated financial institutions will be sanctioned as part of the entry into force of the regulations.

A statement released three days ago by the White House added that Trump's administration intends to fully enforce all U.S. restrictions against Iran and will prosecute those who attempt to violate or elude them.

Those who have failed to reduce sanctionable activities with Iran are at risk of serious consequences, threatened the text , according to which Washington has already issued 19 rounds of punishments and designated 168 individuals associated with Iran.

The document stated that Iranian oil exports had dropped by approximately one million barrels per day since their peak in June, and more than 20 countries had reduced imports of this fuel to zero.

For his part, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last Friday in a conference call that some jurisdictions will be exempted from the measures, 'but only because we have seen an effort and they are reducing their imports of oil from Iran,' he added.

He did not specify the countries or groups of states to receive those exceptions, but said an agreement was reached with six jurisdictions and talks continue with another two.

Since his inauguration on 20 January 2017, Trump threatened to abandon the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan (Jcpoa) signed by Iran and the 5+1 Group (United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China and Germany), and finally announced that move on May 8.

This determination, criticized by various sectors domestically and abroad, paved the way for the reestablishment of punishments, although the International Atomic Energy Agency, allied nations and the US intelligence community indicated that Iran continued to respect the Jcpoa commitments.

Trump has discredited what remained of prestige to the United States and will be the main loser of the reinstatement of sanctions, considered two days ago the leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ali Khamenei.

Quoting a speech in Tehran, he wrote on Twitter that US economic and military power is also in decline.

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Major Powers, Iran Meet To Salvage Nuclear Deal Without US

UNITED NATIONS: Iran has ample reason to stay in the 2015 nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal and the remaining parties on Monday will discuss ways to blunt the effect of impending U.S. sanctions on Tehran, the European Union's foreign policy chief said.

Speaking before a gathering of senior officials from Britain, China, Germany, Russia and Iran, the EU's Federica Mogherini made the case for Iran remaining in the deal that US President Donald Trump abandoned on May 8.

"An essential part of the agreement and its implementation regards Iran having the possibility of benefiting from the lifting of sanctions, and this is exactly why we are discussing tonight, operational concrete steps that we can put in place," Mogherini told reporters before the talks at the United Nations.

"Iran has good arguments and good reasons to remain in the agreement. ... the more operational decisions we will manage to take and ... implement, I believe the more Iran will have reasons to do," she added.

The European Union, however, has so far failed to devise a workable legal framework to shield its companies from US sanctions that go into effect in November and that, among other things, seek to choke off Iran's oil sales, diplomats said.

Highlighting just how difficult it will be for the Europeans to come up with concrete solutions, French state-owned bank Bpifrance on Monday abandoned its plan to set up a financial mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran.

The crux of the deal, negotiated over almost two years by the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, was that Iran would restrain its nuclear program in return for the relaxation of sanctions that had crippled its economy.

Trump considered it flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran's ballistic missiles program or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

The United States began reimposing economic sanctions this summer and the most draconian measures, which seek to force Iran's major customers to stop buying its oil, resume Nov. 5.

Their impending return has contributed to a slide in Iran's currency. The rial has lost about two-thirds of its value this year, hitting a record low against the U.S. dollar this month.

There are limits to what the EU can do to counter the oil sanctions, under which Washington can cut off from the US financial system any bank that facilitates an oil transaction with Iran.

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Ormuz Strait in Iran's Sight due to U.S. Sanctions

Tehran, Aug 3 (Prensa Latina) Iran repeated the possibility of closing the Strait of Ormuz, waterway moving 20 percent of the world''s oil, in response to the threats and sanctions of the United States.

'If the tap of oil and petrodollars is opened, they only go to the pocket of those threatening Iran. It will logically affect the security of the Strait', stressed the chief of Iran's Navy, Counteradmiral Hosein Janzadi, quoted by the IRNA News Agency.

This week, Janzadi launched a similar warning that the 'unjust sanctions (of the U.S.) against Iran' can have consequences on the navigation through the geographic accident separating this nation from Oman.

That point is the sea outlet of the countries with coasts in the Persian gulf, great producers of oil and gas.

At the beginning of last month, the deputy chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, general Ismail Kosari, declared that if restricted the Iranian oil exports, they will not allow the extraction of crude through the Strait of Ormuz.

In a similar sense spoke Iranian deputy minister of Foreign Relations, Abbas Araqchi.

Tension in the zone escalated after the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump, to abandon unilaterally the nuclear pact signed with Tehran three years ago, and imposing new sanctions against Iran, actions rejected by the international community.

Among them, stand out the pressures of Washington on other nations to stop buying Iranian oil, main export item of this nation.

Recently, during a brief visit to the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, threatened with a military response if Iran closes the strait.

'We will make sure that maritime routes stay open, this is a long-standing U.S. policy and we are prepared to keep it', underlined Pompeo in an interview with the Emirate newspaper The National.

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Iran threatens to cut cooperation with nuclear body after Trump move

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran could reduce its co-operation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, President Hassan Rouhani told the body’s head on Wednesday, after he warned U.S. President Donald Trump of “consequences” of fresh sanctions against Iranian oil sales.

In May, Trump pulled out of a multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear program, verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face financial measures.

“Iran’s nuclear activities have always been for peaceful purposes, but it is Iran that would decide on its level of cooperation with the IAEA,” Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying after meeting IAEA head Yukiya Amano in Vienna.

“The responsibility for the change of Iran’s cooperation level with the IAEA falls on those who have created this new situation,” he added.

Rouhani said earlier in the day Tehran would stand firm against U.S. threats to cut Iranian oil sales.

“The Americans say they want to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero ... It shows they have not thought about its consequences,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by IRNA.

On Tuesday, Rouhani hinted at a threat to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries if Washington tries to cut its exports.

He did not elaborate, but an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander explicitly said on Wednesday Iran would block any exports of crude for the Gulf in retaliation for hostile U.S. action.

“If they want to stop Iranian oil exports, we will not allow any oil shipment to pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” Ismail Kowsari was quoted as saying by the Young Journalists Club (YJC) website.

Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds force, in charge of foreign operations for the Revolutionary Guards, said in a letter published on IRNA: “I kiss your (Rouhani’s) hand for expressing such wise and timely comments, and I am at your service to implement any policy that serves the Islamic Republic.”

“SELF HARM”

Rouhani, in Vienna trying to salvage the nuclear deal, said U.S. sanctions were a “crime and aggression”, and called on European and other governments to stand up to Trump.

“Iran will survive this round of U.S. sanctions as it has survived them before. This U.S. government will not stay in office forever ... But history will judge other nations based on what they do today,” he said.

Rouhani told reporters that if the remaining signatories - the Europeans Britain, France and Germany as well as China and Russia - can guarantee Iran’s benefits: “Iran will remain in the nuclear deal without the United States.”

Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said on the Iranian oil ministry news agency SHANA:

“Trump’s demand that Iranian oil should not be bought, and (his) pressures on European firms at a time when Nigeria and Libya are in crisis, when Venezuela’s oil exports have fallen due to U.S. sanctions, when Saudi’s domestic consumption has increased in summer, is nothing but self harm.

“It will increase the prices of oil in the global markets,” he said. “At the end it is the American consumer who will pay the price for Mr. Trump’s policy.”

The European Union, once Iran’s biggest oil importer, has vowed to keep the 2015 deal alive without the United States by trying to keep Iran’s oil and investment flowing. But European officials acknowledge that U.S. sanctions make it difficult to give Tehran guarantees.

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

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; additional reporting Francois Murphy and Kirsti Knolle in Vienna; Editing by Toby Chopra and Robin Pomeroy.

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