Iran’s outgoing president Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran had opened its first oil terminal in the Gulf of Oman, bypassing the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Tehran has, more than once, threatened to close up the strategic trade route in the case of an escalation in the region.
“This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.
The new terminal is located near Jask port on the Gulf of Oman, just south of the Strait of Hormuz.
It will allow ships headed into the Arabian Sea and beyond to avoid the narrow route. Iran’s main oil export terminal is located at the port of Kharg inside the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway less than 40 kilometers across at its narrowest point.
“Today, the first shipment of 100 tonnes of oil is loaded outside the Strait of Hormuz. This shows the failure of the US sanctions,” he said.
Rouhani said Iran aimed to export one million barrels per day (bpd) of oil from the new facility. It has also built a 1,000km pipeline to carry its crude to the new terminal in the southeast from Goreh in Bushehr province.
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow channel at the mouth of the gulf through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes from Middle East producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.
There have been periodic confrontations between Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the US military in the area.
Iran and its nemesis, Israel, have repeatedly traded accusations of hits on each other’s vessels in the region of sensitive waterways.
Israeli-owned vessels were attacked in the Gulf of Oman in February and April, with Israel blaming Iran for the explosions.
Iran’s largest navy ship also sank in early June after catching fire in the Gulf of Oman. Officials have not yet said if the sinking of the Kharg was an act of sabotage or an accident.
Meanwhile, the United States were weighing new sanctions on Iran’s oil sales to China as a way to pressure Tehran to commit to the nuclear deal, the WSJ reported.
US negotiators continue to work with European and international partners in Vienna, Austria in an attempt to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
But as those negotiations stall, the US is mulling alternative options to encourage Iran to stay at the negotiating table or up the cost of leaving it, US officials and people familiar with the matter told the WSJ.
US & UK need to understand this and stop linking a humanitarian exchange—ready to be implemented—with the JCPOA.
Keeping such an exchange hostage to political aims achieves neither.
TEN PRISONERS on all sides may be released TOMORROW if US&UK fulfill their part of deal. 2/2
— Seyed Abbas Araghchi (@araghchi) July 17, 2021
Meanwhile, Iran urges patience as there’s a transfer of power happening in Tehran.
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