If the US seeks to operate in the Hormuz Strait, the Persian Gulf’s major trade route, it must talk to those who defend it, FM Zarif said, referring to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which the US has declared ‘terrorists’.
Anyone who enters the Strait of Hormuz has to work with regional powers providing security for the area, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at an Asia Society event in New York, adding that this means cooperating with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The foreign minister warned Washington against any “crazy moves” that could harm Iranian security, particularly its ability to transport oil through the strait, while saying that Tehran is “open for dialogue.”
“We believe that Iran will continue to sell its oil. We will continue to find buyers for our oil and we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil,” he said.
If the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that, then it should be prepared for the consequences.
Zarif’s warning came days after the Trump administration announced its decision to lift sanctions waivers for Iran’s eight biggest oil buyers to continue importing certain volumes of oil despite the US restrictions re-imposed last year after Washington unilaterally left the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Washington’s renewed push to reduce Tehran’s oil imports to “zero” has already sparked resentment in Ankara and Beijing. Both previously enjoyed the waivers scheduled to expire by May. Zarif noted that if the White House wants to bring Tehran to the negotiating table, it would be wise to drop the threats and try talking to Iran instead.
“We’re allergic to pressure,” he said. “Try the language of respect, it won’t kill you, believe me.”