Rouhani: If US blocks Iran’s oil exports, will close trade route

President Rouhani speaking in the city of Shahroud Semnan Province

The US is incapable of preventing Iran from exporting its oil and any attempt to stop oil tankers from passing through the Persian Gulf will result in the vital waterway being shut down, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf, marking the end to a six-month absence of such a presence in the waters, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In November, the United States reimposed all sanctions previously lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, which Washington unilaterally withdrew from in May. Trump has vowed to eventually cut off all Iranian oil exports, but the administration has given waivers to several countries.

Iran's president downplayed the economic impact of sanctions, accusing the media of exaggerating the country's problems.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran and USA officials say they aim to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero in a bid to curb the Islamic Republic's missile programme and regional influence. They were after separating Khuzestan province, imposing sanctions against the country, and undermining Iran's power, but they failed.

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"No hyperinflation, no massive unemployment will threaten us".

Rouhani said the USA animosity towards Iran has drawn no backing except from the Tel Aviv regime and a few small states, adding that Washington has even failed to win support for such a policy at the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.

Hook said "progress" was being made on getting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to consider a proposal to target individuals and entities that play key roles in Iran's missile development.

Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said yesterday that USA sanctions were hitting vulnerable people in Iran. "There is no Security Council resolution prohibiting the missile programme and missile tests by Iran", IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.

European Union countries have denounced the move and are working to preserve the nuclear deal, even though they have also criticised Iranian positions on other matters.

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