Iran

Iran not to close Hormuz in retaliation for sanctions: Defense minister

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi says the Islamic Republic has no plan to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipment lane in the Persian Gulf, in response to international sanctions.

“These two issues (closure of the Strait of Hormuz and sanctions) are not related and are totally independent of each other,” the Iranian minister said on Sunday.

“The existing sanctions are unjust, but they have pushed us forward and boosted our capabilities. We are strong enough to leave these sanctions powerfully behind,” Vahidi added.

He noted that tough sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic have nothing to do with the country’s nuclear energy program, but are economic in nature.

“Sanctions enforced [against Iran] are not aimed at restricting [Iran’s] nuclear [energy] program, but the enemies [of Iran] have chosen economic issues to deal their blow [to the Iranian nation],” he said.

“If we can form the last link in the [chain of] resistance [against Western sanctions] by [implementing] the economy of resistance, we will be winners,” Vahidi added.

At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

The sanctions entered into force in early summer 2012.

On October 15, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran.

The illegal US-engineered sanctions are imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran refutes the allegation noting that as a signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty and a committed member of International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

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