Rouhani threatens to block all Gulf oil exports if Iran can’t export oil

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani attends an annual Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP)
Updated 04 December 2018
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Rouhani threatens to block all Gulf oil exports if Iran can’t export oil

  • US officials intend to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero
  • This is a response to an effort to curb the Islamic Republic’s missile program and regional influence

GENEVA: Iran has threatened to block the waterway in which oil exports are shipped on Tuesday, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterating that the United States will not be able to stop the country from exporting its oil and any move to prevent Iranian crude shipments passing through the Gulf.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran and US officials say they aim to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero in a bid to curb the Islamic Republic’s missile program and regional influence.
“America should know that we are selling our oil and will continue to sell our oil and they are not able to stop our oil exports,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech during a trip to the northern Iranian city of Shahroud.
“If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf,” he said.
Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States after US President Donald Trump withdrew from a multilateral nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Rouhani said the United States would not succeed in cutting Iran’s economic ties with the region and the world.
Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri also said on Tuesday that US sanctions were hitting vulnerable people in Iran.
“When (Americans) say their target is the Iranian government and there won’t be pressure on the sick, the elderly and the weak in society, it’s a lie,” Jahangiri said, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
A senior military official was quoted as saying on Tuesday that Iran wants to increase its missiles’ range, a move that would irk the US, which views Tehran’s weapons program as a regional security threat.

“One of our most important programs is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition,” said Iranian air force head, Brig.  Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

“We don’t see any limitations for ourselves in this field.” Iran’s military has cited 2,000 km as the current missile range, and said US bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, plus US aircraft carriers in the Gulf, were within range.

Nasirzadeh did not give details on how far Iran would like to increase that range, according to the Fars report.

Tehran insists its missile program is purely defensive but has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf, if Washington tries to strangle its exports.


Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

Updated 23 May 2019
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Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

  • Israel reduced the fishing limit to 10 nautical miles
  • The countries agreed to 20 nautical miles in the Oslo accords of 1990s

JERUSALEM: Israel reduced the offshore fishing limits it imposes for vessels operating out of Gaza from Thursday after Palestinians floated balloons fitted with incendiaries over the border, officials said.
The cut came just two days after Israel restored the limits to those set in April ahead of an Israeli general election.
“A decision was taken this Wednesday evening to reduce the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles until further notice,” said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.
“The decision was taken after the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza toward Israel,” it added.
Palestinians in Gaza have frequently floated balloons fitted with firebombs over the border to damage Israeli property and have in the past succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland.
Israel banned fishing completely when two days of deadly violence erupted earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following a truce.
The 15-nautical-mile limit that had been restored on Tuesday was the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.
But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
Israeli authorities have not said whether the 15-mile limit was one of the understandings reached as part of the May 6 cease-fire in Gaza but Israel media reported on Monday that it was.
The additional nautical miles are important to Gaza fishermen as they bring more valuable, deeper water species within reach.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in this month’s exchanges across the border.