August 8, 2018 / 7:57 AM / in 3 months

Iran's foreign minister: U.S. will not stop Iran oil exports: newspaper

FILE PHOTO: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks to the media in Tbilisi, Georgia, April 18, 2017. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A U.S. plan to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero will not succeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was cited as saying by an Iranian newspaper on Wednesday.

U.S. officials have said in recent weeks that they aim to pressure countries to stop buying oil from Iran in a bid to force Tehran to halt its nuclear and missile programs and involvement in regional conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

“If the Americans want to keep this simplistic and impossible idea in their minds they should also know its consequences,” Zarif told the Iran newspaper.

“They can’t think that Iran won’t export oil and others will export.”

President Hassan Rouhani hinted last month that Iran could block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, if the U.S. attempted to stop the Islamic Republic’s oil exports.

U.S. President Donald Trump responded by noting that Iran could face serious consequences if it threatened the United States.

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

Last month, Trump offered to meet with Iran’s leaders. Zarif said that Oman and Switzerland have acted as mediators in talks with America in the past but that there are currently no direct or indirect talks being held with the United States.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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