Oil market constrains Trump's Iran war talk

Oil market constrains Trump's Iran war talk

Iran, meanwhile, announced that it has quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity.

Iran quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity amid tensions with the USA over Tehran's atomic program, nuclear officials said Monday, just after President Donald Trump and Iran's foreign minister traded threats and taunts on Twitter. The tensions were fueled by the Trump administration's deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.

The US has also blacklisted Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has ties to a number of armed groups operating in Iraq, as a "terrorist group".

"They thought they could undermine Iran, but in these hard days of [U.S.] sanctions, the country's economy is still booming", he said.

Earlier this month, officials of the United Arab Emirates claimed that four oil transport ships were sabotaged.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford are set to brief American senators about the situation with Iran on Tuesday.

FILE - In this February 27, 2005 file photo, The reactor building of Iran's nuclear power plant is seen, at Bushehr, Iran, 750 miles (1,245 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran. "Never threaten the United States again!"

"I would say to the Iranians, do not underestimate the resolve on the United States side in the situation", British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters on Monday in Geneva. He added that the government had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency about its move.

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News reports have indicated that US officials believe Iran is moving short-range ballistic missiles to boats in the Persian Gulf. The IRGC is directly controlled by the Islamic regime's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Salami was named its head last month.

Iran has rejected allegations of involvement in the rocket launch and hit back at Mr Trump's threats to "end" the Islamic Republic. No injuries were reported. There is every indication that Washington is preparing to eclipse these massive war crimes with an even greater bloodbath in the form of a war against Iran, a country with more than twice the population and almost four times the land mass of Iraq.

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif Tuesday warned that the United States is playing a "very, very unsafe game", and vowed that his country will defend itself against escalation. "Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won't "end Iran", Zarif wrote on Twitter. "Try respect. It works", Zarif tweeted. Both U.S. and Iranian vessels patrol in the Strait of Hormuz.

The crisis is rooted in Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear accord a year ago and impose sweeping sanctions on Iran.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Trump "bluffs about going after Iran" and said the consequences of being drawn into a war would be "tragic".

The amount of low-grade uranium Iran can produce was capped at 300 kilograms under the deal to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Under the deal, Iran can only enrich uranium at 3.67% - suitable for a power plant and far below the 90% required for weapons grade. Tehran long has insisted it does not seek nuclear weapons, though the West fears its program could allow it to build them. But Western nations have questioned this claim.

Trump vowed, in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News on Sunday night, not to let Iran get nuclear weapons - but reiterated his reluctance to go to war.

"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything", Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania.

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