US Commanders Vow to Keep Gulf Waterway Open After Iran Comments

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Foreign ministers and senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation held talks on July 6 with their Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Vienna for the first time since U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was abandoning the nuclear deal and moving to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Iran's remaining partners in the JCPOA vowed on Friday to keep the energy exporter plugged into the global economy.

Since Trump's shock move in May, Washington has warned other countries to end business in Iran and stop buying its oil from early November or face punitive measures.

The other partners so far appear powerless to stop their countries' companies pulling out of Iran for fear of U.S. penalties.

VIENNA - Talks to save the 2015 nuclear deal on Friday are unlikely to satisfy Iran, European powers said, and Tehran warned that it could leave the accord if it was not fully compensated for the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions.

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) and political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Abbas Araghchi take part in a Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ministerial meeting on the Iran nuclear deal on July 6, 2018 in Vienna, Austria.

Iran is continuing to export oil despite United States attempts to prevent them from doing so, and there is no reason to think they're suddenly going to commit a series of acts of war in the Strait of Hormuz just to give the United States a pretext to attack them.

Trump also said he would reinstate sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

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Trump said he was unilaterally pulling out of the deal negotiated by his predecessor because he felt it wasn't strong enough and didn't cover other issues of concern to the USA and its allies, such as Iran's military influence in the Middle East and a ballistic missile program.

However, he warned that if the European sides fail to properly fulfill their commitments, Iran would take its own measures to counter the USA withdrawal from the JCPOA. Hassan Rouhani, who spoke with his French counterpart on the phone, also said the European Union's proposed package on continuation of cooperation under the nuclear deal does not cover all demands of Iran.

"These initiatives are aimed at preserving the nuclear deal which is in the security interest of all", said the joint statement read out by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Tehran has conditioned its stay in the deal to practical European strides to make sure Iran's dividends from the deal would not be affected when United States sanctions "snap back" in August.

"After the withdrawal of the United States, which we can't understand, we face a hard situation", he added, but he stressed that "we want to make clear to Iran that it will still gain economic benefits through this agreement".

"After the withdrawal of the United States, which we can't understand, we face a hard situation", he said.

The rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes. It is unsurprising that the USA is using this as an excuse to issue a bunch of new statements about their military commitment, and is liable to be an excuse for more U.S. naval operations along the Iranian coast.

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