The White House policy of taking Iranian oil exports to "zero" still has a long way to go, thanks in no small part to China, and also despite Pompeo touting this week that US sanctions have removed nearly 2.7 million barrels of Iranian oil from global markets.
US frustration was evident upon the release of the Adrian Darya 1, with Gibraltar resisting Washington pressures to hand over the Iranian vessel, given as its en route to Greece, American officials are now warning that they will sanction anyone who touches the tanker.
Seizing on Washington's frustration as part of its own "counter-pressure" campaign of recent weeks, Iran has again stated if it can't export its own oil, it will make waterways unsafe and "unpredictable" for anyone else to to so.
“World powers know that in the case that oil is completely sanctioned and Iran’s oil exports are brought down to zero, international waterways can’t have the same security as before,” President Hassan Rouhani said while meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to Khamenei’s official website.
“So unilateral pressure against Iran can’t be to their advantage and won’t guarantee their security in the region and the world,” Rouhani said.
The provocative statements corresponded with similar remarks from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also warned Tehran might act “unpredictably” in response to “unpredictable” US policies under Trump, according to Reuters.
Zarif made the statements in a speech at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) while on a broader tour of European countries urging leaders to resist US sanctions threats and abide by commitments under the JCPOA:
“Mutual unpredictability will lead to chaos. President Trump cannot expect to be unpredictable and expect others to be predictable. Unpredictability will lead to mutual unpredictability and unpredictability is chaotic,” Zarif said.
Iran's military has repeatedly said it alone can secure the vital Strait of Hormuz tanker route, while at the same time warning any outside 'maritime coalition' patrols would be seen as an act of aggression, especially involving the US or Israel.