Iran reacts with war threats as US waivers on Iranian oil expire

Iran’s armed forces should prepare as if an attack were imminent, General Abdolrahim Mousavi instructed on Thursday just as the US waivers on Iranian crude oil sanctions expired, according to Iran’s Radio Farda.

“All forces should prepare themselves as though an attack can occur tomorrow and continuously engage in war exercises,” Mousavi told IRNA, the official government news agency of Iran, accusing the United States of vigorously pursuing a regime change.

“We will crush the murderous America at the height of its power,” Mousavi had said at the end of March, when a waiver extension was still a possibility. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tweeted a similar warning on Wednesday, suggesting that “the enemy’s war posture” was there, even if it did not appear to be so publicly. The United States has denied that it has a goal of changing the regime in Iran.

“Today enemy is attacking us on all areas: they devise plans to strike Iran on economy, intelligence infiltration & cyberspace,” Khamenei said on Twitter in one of five tweets on the subject, adding that the current US administration was more transparent in its stance, contrary to previous US administrations “who wore velvet gloves over their iron hands.”

The United States moved to end the eight waivers it had granted to purchasers of Iranian oil in an effort to bring the country’s exports to zero, or as near zero as possible. The move has elicited numerous retaliatory comments from the sanctioned country toward the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates as pressure over its crude oil exports intensifies. “By using oil as a weapon against two founding members of OPEC – Venezuela and Iran – they turn OPEC solidarity into division and draw the death and collapse of OPEC,” Iran’s Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh said early this week. 

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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