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Iran foreign minister slams Washington for 'escalating the situation unnecessarily'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 14, 2019 - Duration: 00:53s

Iran foreign minister slams Washington for 'escalating the situation unnecessarily'

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused Washington of "escalating the situation unnecessarily," as he arrived in the Indian capital for meetings.

Rough cut - no reporter narration.

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Iran foreign minister slams Washington for 'escalating the situation unnecessarily'

ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused Washington of "escalating the situation unnecessarily," as he arrived in the Indian capital on Monday evening (13 May).

Zarif is due to hold talks with his Indian counterpart on Tuesday (14 May) after New Delhi stopped purchases of Iranian oil this month in the wake of renewed U.S. sanctions.

The Iranian foreign minister said Tehran was not seeking a conflict "but we have always defended ourselves." India was Iran's top oil client after China, but halted imports after Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran and later withdrew waivers to eight nations, including India, which had allowed them to import some Iranian oil.

Washington wants to block Iran's oil exports after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program.

The sanctions have more than halved Iran's oil exports to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) or less, from a peak of 2.8 million bpd last year.

Exports could drop to as low as 500,000 bpd from May, an Iranian official told Reuters this month.

Washington has sent an aircraft carrier and a bomber task to the Persian Gulf, with the intention of confronting Iranian threat to U.S. forces.

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