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Iran vows to defy US sanctions and continue to export oil

IRAN accused the US today of assembling a “war room” against Tehran, telling President Donald Trump it would continue to export oil and other goods in defiance of US sanctions.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif vowed that Tehran would fight back against the sanctions, which took effect yesterday, warning against an escalating trade war between the two countries.

The return of sanctions follows Mr Trump’s June withdrawal from 2015’s international nuclear deal, which he claimed gave Iran too much for too little.

Mr Zarif said: “If the Americans want to keep this simplistic and impossible idea in their minds, they should also know its consequences. They can’t think that Iran won’t export oil and others will export.”

Mr Trump is set to impose further measures from November.

The belligerent US president threatened those who continue to deal with Iran earlier this week, saying that Washington would bar companies trading with Iran from doing business in the US.

But China and Germany, both signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, defended business with Iran today.

“China’s commercial co-operation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations security council resolutions,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

And German officials warned the US sanctions may violate international law due to their impact on other countries, urging Washington to consider European interests in Iran.

Despite assurances from the European Union, a number of companies have already pulled out of the country, saying they cannot risk endangering business with the US.

Mr Zaif said: “The Americans have assembled a war room against Iran. We can’t get drawn into a confrontation with America by falling into this war-room trap and playing on a battlefield.

“Before, nobody supported Iran. But now all the countries in the world are supporting Iran.”

Yesterday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani indicated that his country preferred negotiations to hostility but warned that talks could not take place with sanctions in place.

In an address on state TV Mr Rouhani said: “If you stab someone with a knife and then you say you want talks, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife.”

The Iranian president has previously threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz if the US insists on blocking Tehran’s oil exports.

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