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Iran Press TV

Iran ready for worst-case scenario in faceoff with US, all options considered: Spokesman

Iran Press TV

Monday, 18 May 2020 1:37 PM

The spokesman for Iran's administration says the Islamic Republic is ready for the worst-case scenario in its current confrontation with the US over Iranian tanker ships delivering oil to Venezuela, stressing that Tehran-Caracas relations are not other countries' business.

Ali Rabiei made the remarks in a weekly news briefing on Monday when asked about Iran's possible reaction if the United States attempted to block the passage of Iranian tanker ships bound for Venezuela.

"Our foreign minister has issued necessary warnings and this issue has been also discussed by the [Iranian] administration and the Supreme National Security Council. We hope that the US would not make such a mistake, but in any case, we will take all possibilities into account and are ready for a worst-case scenario," he said.

Iran is shipping tons of gasoline to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions on both countries in a symbolic move guaranteed by Tehran's missile prowess.

Reports of a shipment of Iranian fuel to Venezuela in the face of US sanctions against the two allies have infuriated the United States, with one official threatening to take "measures" against the "unwelcome" development.

A senior official in US President Donald Trump's administration told Reuters on Thursday that the United States was considering measures against Iran in response to the fuel shipment. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Sunday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued a stern warning against the provocative acts of Washington through dispatching its naval forces to the Caribbean Sea with the goal of disrupting the course of Iranian tankers carrying fuel for Venezuela.

In a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Zarif described "the illegal, dangerous and provocative US threats [against the Iranian tankers]" as a form of piracy and a big threat to international peace and security.

Iran also summoned the Swiss envoy, whose country represents US interests in Tehran, to voice the country's vehement protest at the provocations.

"Although it is too early to comment on Iran's response to a possible US piracy, we will reserve all the options if they make such a mistake, and will take appropriate action to protect freedom of navigation and increase the unprecedented cost of violating the [maritime] law," Rabiei told the news briefing.

The Iranian administration's spokesman went on to say that Tehran expects the international community to be highly sensitive about freedom of international waterways and protection of [marine] traffic.

Rabiei added, "The US measure in setting wrong precedent and its violation of legal rules and regulations has hit a new low in terms of its unparalleled brazenness."

"We (Iran) and Venezuela are countries that have enjoyed relations since a long time. We sell goods to and buy goods from them. These relations have nothing to do with other countries. All of this is within the framework of measures, which are considered to be of no objection by international law, and fall within the framework of healthy business communication," Rabiei said.

The Iranian official stressed that no country is required to comply with unilateral and arbitrary sanctions imposed by the United States, and "we are committed to regular exchanges with Venezuela."

"Gasoline-carrying tankers have set sail on an order from the Venezuelan government and their dispatch is in line with the free will that countries exercise in conventional international exchanges. We want to make sure that these cargoes are safe from the danger of US marine piracy, which has happened in the past," Rabiei noted.

Iran has intentionally hoisted its own flag over the huge tankers and is shipping large consignments of gasoline to Venezuela even though the US could try to intercept the shipments and seize the tankers.

The US Navy is said to have deployed its USS Detroit (LCS-7), USS Lassen (DDG-82), USS Preble (DDG-88), and USS Farragut (DDG-99) to the Caribbean along with its patrol aircraft Boeing P8-Poseidon for possible encounter with the Iranian vessels.

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