US Navy ready to ensure 'free navigation' after Iran Hormuz threat

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Back on May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal (an agreement made in 2015 between Iran, the UK, Germany, China, Russia, the US and France) as, in his words, the agreement left Iran a possibility to create a nuclear bomb bypassing all the restrictions.

Washington has warned other countries to end trade and investment in Iran and stop buying its oil by early November or face punitive measures.

Trump said he was unilaterally pulling out of the deal negotiated by his predecessor because he felt it wasn't strong enough and didn't cover other issues of concern to the USA and its allies, such as Iran's military influence in the Middle East and a ballistic missile program.

A senior USA military leader said in 2012 the Guards have the ability to block the strait "for a period of time" but the United States would take action to reopen it in such an event.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had previously called the latest package of incentives offered "disappointing", but Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he would convey "deeper explanation" observed at the Vienna meeting to Tehran. He said the package lacks workable solution and is a set of general commitments like the previous European Union statements.

Despite the United States threat to penalise companies and banks that do business with Iran, the remaining signatories said they would work to promote investment and trade.

On arrival in Vienna, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said he didn't expect a collapse of talks, but suggested more negotiations would be needed in the future.

This was extrapolated by United States officials as a threaten to shut down all regional oil shipping, when it could just as easily be interpreted as noting that Iran can basically export its oil under the guise of it coming from other regional countries, which is common behavior during sanctions.

"Participants agreed to keep progress under close review and to reconvene the joint commission, including at ministerial level, as appropriate in order to advance common efforts", Mogherini said, adding that all sides were determined to find and implement solutions. "It's also not just about what the Europeans can do, but also how the Chinese, Russians, Indians, others can contribute".

Iranian officials have said that key for them is to ensure measures that guarantee oil exports do not halt, and that Tehran still has access to the SWIFT worldwide bank payments messaging system or an alternative.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (L); Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) and political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Abbas Araghchi take part in a Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ministerial meeting on the Iran nuclear deal on July 6, 2018 in Vienna, Austria. But even when those sanctions did materialize, Iran did not block the strait.

Even though Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the U.S. actions "de-facto disrupted the agreement", thus giving Iran a right to withdraw from it as well, the Islamic Republic would not exercise this right, according to Lavrov.

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