Iran refuses talks with USA under coercion

IRGC conducts major naval drills in Persian Gulf Strait of Hormuz

IRGC conducts major naval drills in Persian Gulf Strait of Hormuz

State refiners accounted for about four-fifth of Iranian oil imports in July with Indian Oil Corp along with its unit Chennai Petroleum Corp getting about 300,000 bpd oil from Tehran, the preliminary data showed.

Since President Donald Trump announced in May that the US would be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and restoring sanctions on the country, Washington officials have attempted to convince foreign governments to stop importing Iranian oil.

Following Trump's decision to quit the historic Iran nuclear pact on May 8, the United States vowed to reimpose sanctions lifted under the accord against Iran and inflict punishments like secondary sanctions on nations that have business links with Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned the USA against any attempt to stop Tehran's oil trade, threatening to block the strategically important Strait of Hormuz. Hormuz is the place they can transfer that pain to the rest of the world.

Iran had hoped the lifting of sanctions would allow it to replace its aging commercial airline fleet, but the US withdrawal has halted billion-dollar deals struck with Airbus and Boeing. The Iranian rial has fallen to 99,000 to the USA dollar despite a government-imposed rate of 44,000.

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The first round of United States sanctions on Iran goes into effect on August 6, followed by ones targeting Iran's oil exports on November 4.

Repeating the pattern of past weeks, crude prices on Friday ended the week down by 0.4 percent for West Texas Intermediate and 1.5 percent for Brent, this time in reaction to China state oil major Sinopec cutting its purchases of USA product due to the trade spat between both countries. The sanctions targeting Iran's oil industry could cut off a crucial source of hard currency.

Iran is one of India's top suppliers of crude oil. The US Energy Information Administration calls it "the world's most important oil transit chokepoint", with 20% of oil traded worldwide moving through the waterway, which is about 30 miles wide at its narrowest point.

On Sunday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Guard spokesman Gen. Ramezan Sharif confirming that its forces held a military drill in the Persian Gulf and the strait.

Three months ago, the U.S. withdrew from a 2015 agreement among world powers and Iran in which global sanctions against Tehran were lifted.

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