Following US declarations that Washington intends to take Iranian crude exports down to “zero”, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are attempting to lay down the law amid fears the US Navy could move to block Iran’s access given the IRGC’s new terror designation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said if the US intends to pass through the Persian Gulf’s vital choke point — the waterway’s narrowest strait routinely patrolled by Iran’s military — “it must dialogue with those who defend it”.

Sharif’s words were essentially a provocative declaration that the US military must ask Tehran’s “permission” to enter the strait. However, he elsewhere explained that he does not believe that President Trump wants war with Iran, but that he could be “lured into one” by his more hawkish deep state advisers.

Those who have designed the policies that are being pursued do not simply want a negotiated solution. But let me make it clear that Iran is not seeking confrontation, but will not escape defending itself.

The Iranian foreign minister also interestingly suggested the possibility that American operatives or their allies could try “to plot an accident” to create a broader crisis, in perhaps a continued cryptic reference to tensions in the Persian Gulf over the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran believes that they will continue to sell its oil. Tehran will continue to find buyers for its oil and we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil.

Along with tightening sanctions the White House has indicated it will take measures to halt Iranian shipments in international waters wherever its tankers are found, while Israel will block oil shipments to Syria.

News Punch / ABC Flash Point News 2019.

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