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Tehran Vows ‘Counteractions’ As Tensions Grow

Iran is hinting that it could announce as early as on Wednesday reduced compliance under the so-called Iran nuclear deal in “counteractions” against the maximum pressure campaign of the United States, which ended all waivers for Iranian oil customers and sent a carrier strike group to the Middle East as a warning to Iran.

On Sunday, U.S. National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton said that “In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said in a statement, days after the U.S. sanction waivers for all Iranian oil buyers expired.

On Monday, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani may announce on Wednesday “counteractions against US’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

“Partial and total reduction of some of Iran’s commitments and resumption of some nuclear activities which were ceased following JCPOA are the first step by Iran responding to US’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the lack commitment from European countries to meet their vows,” ISNA reported.

Meanwhile, the EU and the three EU countries part of the JCPOA deal—France, Germany, and the UK—said over the weekend that they “take note with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran.” The EU vowed to work on keeping legitimate trade with Iran, together with third countries interested in supporting the JCPOA, including through the special purpose payment vehicle "INSTEX", which the EU set up earlier this year to keep trade payments—including oil trade—with Iran open.

By Tsvetana Paraskova from Oilprice.com

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