Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that the country can export as much oil as it needs, his official website reported, as the United States prepares to end sanctions waivers it granted to some importers of Iranian crude.
“America’s efforts in sanctioning the sale of Iranian oil won’t get anywhere,” Khamenei was quoted as saying. “We can export as much of our oil as we need and want.”
Oil prices hit their highest level since November on Tuesday after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end next week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply.
Washington’s enmity will receive an answer and Iran’s people will not remain silent, Khamenei said, without elaborating.
The commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ navy said on Monday that Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil conduit in the Gulf, if Tehran was barred from using it.
The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers, most of them in Asia, to continue importing limited volumes.
Rohani also said Iran is willing to negotiate with the United States only when Washington removes pressure and apologizes, his website reported.
Iran has always been a nation of negotiation and diplomacy, as it has been for war and defense, he said.