Iran has said it will fight back against USA efforts to squeeze Iranian oil exports, accusing countries that fill the gap in oil markets of "a big treachery to the Iranian nation and the world community", according to Iran's First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri.
"We want to defeat America's efforts ... to stop Iran's oil exports", he said.
The Trump administration is asking its worldwide partners for a full halt to oil imports from Iran by November 4, and is hoping to reduce Tehran's crude oil sales to zero while minimising disruption to the market.
The United States exited from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May and said it would reimpose economic sanctions on the Islamic republic and its business partners by 4 November. "Since Venezuela and Libya failed to produce, OPEC countries chose to increase their output by one million barrels to compensate", Sonatrach's CEO noted, adding: "This is why prices stand at the same level".
The US "down to zero" plan rests heavily on banning India and China from buying from the Iranians, and while Indian companies have suggested they will dial it back, China remains in the nuclear deal and nearly certainly won't give in to US demands.
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According to the Associated Press, peaceful protests began in Khorramshahr, Abadan and other areas of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province on Friday, but over the weekend, protesters began throwing stones and confronting security forces in at least one city.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions on Iran would take effect in 90-day and 180-day periods - after August 6 and November 4.
The US strategy is based on increasing economic pressure on Iran and is aimed at "a change in the behaviour of the Iranian leadership of Iran, and not regime change", Mr Hook said.
Iran had been pushing hard for oil producers to hold output steady as USA sanctions are expected to hit its exports.
"Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference", Trump tweeted.
The US on Monday said it is prepared to work with nations that are reducing their oil imports from Iran on a case-by-case basis, but ruled out granting waivers to countries like India or Turkey as it could substantially reduce pressure on Tehran. The Saudis have not confirmed if that's the case.