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Iran warns of ‘equal countermeasures’ if US blocks oil exports

Iran warns of ‘equal countermeasures’ if US blocks oil exports
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Iran's foreign ministry on Tuesday denounced U.S. efforts to convince foreign nations to avoid purchasing oil from the country's government, vowing "equal countermeasures" if the U.S. tries to block exports from Iran.

Reuters reports that Iranian officials threatened an “unimaginable and regrettable” reaction in response to efforts from U.S. officials to stymie the country's chief export.

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“If America wants to take a serious step in this direction it will definitely be met with a reaction and equal countermeasures from Iran,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, according to Reuters.

The chief of staff for Iran's armed forces, Major Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, also threatened to use Iran's strength in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz to enforce the country's sovereignty in the region.

“As the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, [Iran] has been the guarantor of the security of shipping and the global economy in this vital waterway and has the strength to take action against any scheme in this region,” Bagheri said, adding that a "strong, unimaginable and regrettable” response could await the U.S. in the region.

“As our president correctly pointed out, the enemies, particularly America, whose centers of interest are within reach of the visible and hidden defense forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, should not play with the lion’s tail,” he said.

The statements come two days after President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE's fiery Twitter threat aimed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which Trump warned Rouhani against explicitly threatening the U.S. in the future.

"NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!" the president tweeted on Monday.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran soured this year when the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement that was reached under the Obama administration that lifted economic sanctions on Iran if the country halted its nuclear ambitions.