July 31 (UPI) -- Economic sanctions imposed on Iran will impact maritime traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a main oil artery, an Iranian naval commander said Tuesday.
"The cruel sanctions being imposed on Iran will affect Strait of Hormuz functions," Rear-Admiral Hossein Khanzadi was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying.
The waterway between Iran and Oman is among the world's most heavily trafficked oil arteries, hosting about 35 percent of all of the world's oil moving by sea, or nearly 20 percent of the global trade in oil. Iran has said that if its oil exports are isolated by U.S. sanctions that go into force in November, it would ensure that nobody's oil would flow through the strait.
"It should be remembered that decisions made in international arena would not affect just a country; rather they would influence measures by other players too," the naval commander said.
Iran's latest warning follows signs that economic pressures are already taking their toll. The nation's currency, the rial, hit an all-time low against the U.S. dollar during the weekend. Iranian officials blamed their "enemies" for trying to collapse the economy and stoke domestic unrest.
The U.S. decision in May to pull out of the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a nuclear agreement that extended sanctions relief to Iran, leaves the deal in jeopardy. Without U.S. involvement, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday the agreement is in the hands of European powers.
"The ball is in Europe's court in the limited time remaining," he said during a meeting with the British envoy to Tehran.
European leaders have introduced measures aimed at protecting companies doing business with Iran, though U.S. sanctions pressures in Iran's Central Bank make those efforts complicated.
On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he'd be willing to talk to Rouhani without preconditions. Bahram Qasemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said that was unlikely.
"With this United States and with its policies, there will remain no way to negotiations as Washington has already proved its untrustworthiness," he was quoted by IRNA as saying.
Sidelining Iran from the energy markets could leave about a million barrels of oil per day off the market at a time when few other producers could make up for the difference in short order. Some U.S. sanctions go into force on Wednesday and oil-related measures snap back in November.