Iranian officials reacted to the U.S. decision not to renew sanctions waivers for importers of Iranian oil with a mix of threats and ridicule. The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if Iran could no longer export oil through it. "According to international law, the Strait of Hormuz is a waterway and we will close it [to other countries] in case we are banned from using it,” he said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif labeled the U.S. decision “economic terrorism” in a tweet. Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh promised Iran’s parliament that “we will work with full force toward breaking America’s sanctions,” and highlighted the potential for international oil market volatility.
Parliament passed a motion, reportedly in reaction to recent hostile U.S. actions, stipulating that “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s administration and the armed forces are duty bound to take the necessary and wise measures in due time in such a way that the American forces could not employ any power or equipment against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interests.”
Heshamtollah Falahatpishe, a lawmaker who chairs the parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, said “Iran’s oil sales will never fall below a million barrels per day. The minimum amount of Iran’s oil sales is determined by bilateral relations not the political bluffs of Trump and Pompeo.” The following are Iranian reactions to the U.S. sanctions waiver decision:
IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri
"According to international law, the Strait of Hormuz is a waterway and we will close it [to other countries] in case we are banned from using it. In case of any threat, we will not hesitate to support and defend Iran's waters. We will defend our honor and will take reciprocal measures when it comes to protecting Iran's rights."
―April 22, 2019, in an interview with Iranian state television
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime—and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 23, 2019
REAL news, @realdonaldtrump: Inheritors of ancient Persian civilization don't base strategy on "advice" of foreigners—let alone Americans.
Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh
“Definitely, [the US] dream of bringing Iran’s oil exports to zero will never come true and we will work with full force toward breaking America’s sanctions.”
“The situation of oil supply and demand is very fragile in the current circumstances and statements by the US and its allies expose their concerns over the market’s reaction.”
―April 23, 2019, in remarks to Parliament
Chairman of Parliament’s National Security Commission Heshamtollah Falahatpishe
“Iran’s oil sales will never fall below a million barrels per day. The minimum amount of Iran’s oil sales is determined by bilateral relations not the political bluffs of Trump and Pompeo.”
―April 23, 2019, in a tweet reported by Iranian state media
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi
"Given the illegal nature of these sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not considered and will not consider any value or credit for waivers granted [to customers of the Iranian oil] on [U.S.] sanctions. However, in view of the practical negative effects of these sanctions and the possibility of further intensification of those negative effects [after U.S. refusal to renew the waivers], the Foreign Ministry has been continuously in touch with all relevant domestic institutions while holding comprehensive consultations with many foreign partners, including Europeans, international [ones] and neighbors. The results of these international and domestic consultations will be reviewed by top-level decisionmakers and an appropriate decision in this case will soon be adopted and announced.”