Iran's Supreme Leader Warns of Closing Strait of Hormuz

Earlier this month Rouhani hinted that Tehran may block regional oil exports if its own sales are halted

Earlier this month Rouhani hinted that Tehran may block regional oil exports if its own sales are halted

Rouhani's apparent warning on July 3 to disrupt oil shipments from neighbouring countries came in reaction to looming U.S. sanctions and efforts by the administration of President Donald Trump to force all countries to halt purchases of Iranian oil. "Do not play with the lion's tail, you will regret it forever", he said.

Trump earlier this year pulled the US out of the global deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions.

The move was harshly criticized by Iran.

Rohani said that the pressure has strengthened national unity in the country.

"We've become more united than before".

The top general said although the USA is now focused on carrying out its economic threats against Iran, Tehran would do well to get ready to come to grips with other types of threats as well.

He accused the United States of working to weaken and "overthrow" the clerical establishment and create divisions in the country.

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Rouhani's apparent threat earlier this month to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries came in reaction to looming USA sanctions and efforts by Washington to force all countries to stop buying Iranian oil.

USA officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have expressed support for the Iranian people and "their struggle for freedom".

In a May 21 speech, Pompeo laid out a list of 12 demands from Iran that included a halt to its enrichment activities and an end to its support for armed groups such as the Lebanese Hizballah.

Rouhani spoke ahead of a much-trailed speech by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later Sunday, seen as part of Washington's efforts to foment unrest against the Islamic government in Iran.

Even though Rouhani did not mention the Strait of Hormuz, his comments were nonetheless seen as a threat to the narrow strategic passageway located between Iran and Oman, where at least 18.5m barrels of oil were transported every day in 2016, according to a United States energy department report.

"If Iran's oil export is blocked, no other country in the region will export oil either", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday in a meeting with Foreign Ministry officials and Iranian diplomats.

Khamenei has the last say in all state matters in the Islamic republic.

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