(Persia Digest) – A former Iranian diplomat says: “Iran aims to circumvent the sanctions as on previous occasions if the US does not renew waivers. Closing the Strait of Hormuz will entail a reaction by the US which will lead to military confrontation in the Persian Gulf.”

Media outlets such as The Washington Post and Reuters report that today, Monday, the US will announce the end of waivers for sanctions for eight countries buying Iranian oil. The Iranian President has said earlier that “if Iran is prevented from exporting oil, no oil will be exported from this region.” Some media interpreted this as an Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Reuters also quoted three unnamed sources at the US State Department as saying their country has envisaged exemptions from sanctions for foreign companies who do business with the IRGC to avoid punitive measures. Recently, the US placed the IRGC on its FTO list.

Persia Digest (PD) conducted an interview on the issue with Dr Davoud Hermidas-Bavand, former Iranian diplomat and university professor.

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Speaking about the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, Bavand told PD: “Iran is unable to close the Strait in peace time. If this happens, the US will react. With respect to this country’s military bases in Qatar and Bahrain, and its aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, there is a possibility of military engagement which is not to Iran’s benefit.”

He reiterated: “Iran’s strategy to prevent zero export of its oil is to circumvent the sanctions, similar to its previous strategy.”

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The professor of international relations also commented on exemptions issued for foreign companies for cooperation with the IRGC, saying: “The US has taken this step to safeguard its own interests. For instance, Iraq has dealings with the IRGC. This country cannot sacrifice its national interests for US policies. Iraq is currently facing difficulties which will get only worse if punitive measures for dealing with the IRGC are added to it. These will eventually be reflected on the US. Taking into account the services which will likely be provided to the US if it considers exemptions for Iraq, it is possible that Washington is envisaging waivers for this country.

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