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Iranian official vows to win 'economic war' against Washington's sanctions

US envoy for Iran says Washington wants to ensure sanctions on Tehran don't lead to spike in global oil prices
Renewed US sanctions on Iran's crucial oil sector came into effect on Monday (AFP)

Iran can flourish under US sanctions and Tehran will defeat Washington in its “economic war” against the Islamic Republic, Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Hossein Salami said on Wednesday.

“The enemy is trying to strike a blow against Iran through a soft war and an economic war, but they will face a heavy defeat,” said Salami, quoted by Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

US President Donald Trump’s administration reimposed sanctions on Iran on Monday aimed at isolating the country’s banking sector and oil exports.

Salami said the measures, which Washington says are also designed to stop Tehran's weapon programmes and curb its regional influence, will not succeed.

"Iran has been able to advance in any area that the enemy has placed sanctions on Islamic Iran," he said.

Separately, Salami said Lebanon’s Hezbollah has Israel in a "death grip".

“Today the Zionists are surrounded and are flailing between life and death,” he said.

Meanwhile, the US envoy for Iran said on Wednesday that Washington has succeeded in ensuring that reimposed sanctions on Tehran do not lead to a spike in global oil prices.

Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, said that the administration has been careful in the way it is applying sanctions on Tehran’s crucial oil sector.

Speaking at a briefing, Hook said Washington’s “maximum pressure” strategy was also going to apply to escrow accounts holding Iranian oil revenues.

He said an expected increase in oil supplies in 2019 will help the US in asking countries to further reduce their imports of Iranian oil.

US sanctions may have limited effect on Iran's economy
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Hook warned all ports and insurance companies to steer clear of Iranian ships, calling them a "floating liability".

He said the US sanctions extended to insurers and underwriters. "Knowingly providing these services to sanctioned Iranian shipping companies will result in the imposition of US sanctions," he said.

"From the Suez Canal to the Strait of Malacca and all choke points in between, Iranian tankers are now a floating liability."

In May, Trump pulled Washington out of a multinational agreement that saw Iran drastically scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting economic sanctions, angering America's European allies.

This week, Trump said he intended to impose the measures against Iran's oil sector gradually to prevent a shock to the global oil market.

The sanctions affect more than 700 individuals and entities, according to the US Treasury Department, including Iranian banks and their subsidiaries, the country’s shipping sector and its national airline, Iran Air.

The US granted eight exemptions to bypass the sanctions.

Turkey, one of the US’s key allies in the region and a major importer of Iranian oil supplies, received one of the exemptions. Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would not abide by the sanctions, in any case, describing them as a violation of international law.