Iran has enough leverage to continue oil exports

TEHRAN, Nov. 14 (MNA) – In an interview with CNN, Iranian Ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad, said Iran now has a lot of alternatives to sell its oil seeing that other countries are not willing to comply with the US’ demands as they used to be in the past.

In a video interview with Iranian Ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad, released by CNN on Tuesday, he was asked to comment on how “realistic” the claims by US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, are regarding the US’ attempts to squeeze Iran’s economy to the point Iran would be forced to change its behavior.

“It is regrettable that such disastrous language is used,” he said. “We’ve heard [US Secretary of State] Pompeo mistakenly saying that if Iran wants to keep its nation fed, it needs to agree with the US. Such language is extraordinary and not understandable. The exemptions that they have been providing to many states around the globe means that the US has failed to create a kind of consensus among the countries to have unified sanctions against Iran and [the US] has been under pressure from so many circles here and there who want to continue working with Iran, so they have been pressured into accepting to give those waivers.”

Baeidinejad went to note, however, that Iran started to feel the strain on its economy from five or six months ago. “The important thing here is the psychological impact rather than having any practical effect on the ground. US is waging a kind of psychological warfare to frighten people and sabotage our economy. But gradually we could in fact manage to find ways and means that guarantee we can continue to export oil.”

US claimed it would cut Iran’s oil exports to zero, but it has failed to do so, he added.

Asked about how Iran is exporting its oil in the face of US sanctions, Baeidinjad said there are a lot of alternatives to sell oils because the country has had a lot of experience in the past. “The difference between this time from the previous time is that other countries are not willing to comply with the US’ request, so we have enough leverage to continue our exports.”

He voiced regret that major companies have been leaving Iran due to US pressure, adding “but in the meantime, we have met a lot of interest from the SMEs to work with Iran and we are in close contact with the European Union on how we can ensure that the SMEs can continue doing business with Iran.”

CNN then showed a part of Pompeo’s speech listing the 12 conditions for Iran to comply with, asking Baeidinejad if Iran has started to comply with any of those conditions.

The Iranian envoy said the accusations are unfounded. “This is the contradiction we see in the US. On the one hand, we see President Trump making repeated requests to meet with President Rouhani, and on other occasions, we see these contradictory statements about the conditions the US wants to be met by Iran. This shows no consistent policy in the US.”

“They are putting forward conditions that they know better than anyone that is impossible for Iran to accomplish. With respect to the Iran nuclear deal, for instance the enrichment, that was possible because the US shifted its policy from zero enrichment to a level of enrichment for Iran. Now they are saying we should go back to the zero-enrichment stage which is impossible.”

Asked whether Iran would continue to stay in the JCPOA despite the US withdrawal, he said “we are in close negotiations with other countries and partners to the deal – China, Russia and the E3 – and EU is also heavily involved, and we hope that we can reach an understanding that they would be able to ensure that the JCPOA could continue to be implemented. If we can reach that understanding we will be continuing our compliance under the agreement.”

Asked to comment whether Iran is benefiting from the international pressure on Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s murder, he said “the benefit that we can get from this new situation is that the West understands better that the policy of coercion and intimidation by Saudi Arabia would not be successful in the region. They started the Yemeni war, they took hostage the prime minister of Lebanon, they tried to blockade Qatar, and they have adopted a policy in the region that endangers peace and security. If now the US and European partners would understand that this policy has in fact left a quite devastating impact on the security of the region and try to see what they can do to redress the situation that would be the benefit we could all hope to get.”

About the Yemeni crisis, he said “we have always stressed that there needs to be ceasefire on the ground and according to our knowledge, the Houthi government was always ready to enter into a ceasefire agreement but the problem was and is that the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition never believe that a political solution is the only way to resolve the Yemeni issue; they believe in a military issue to solve the crisis, which is impossible.”


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