Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday warned the U.S. there would be consequences if Washington tried to stop Tehran from selling oil, or navigating international waterways.
Zarif made the comments at an event in New York: (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF, SAYING: "We believe that Iran will continue to sell its oil.
We will continue to find buyers for our oil.
And we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil.
[FLASH] But if the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that, then it should be prepared for the consequences." Zarif declined to specify what the consequences might be.
Iran's comments come after the Trump administration on Monday demanded a halt to all purchases of Iranian oil by May, warning that countries continuing to do so could face sanctions.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO, SAYING (MONDAY): "The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits." (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF, SAYING: "Sanctions always hurt, but sanctions never change policy.
In an interview with Reuters later in the day, Zarif said Iran would not succumb to threats and boasted that the country has plenty of experience in evading whatever barriers the U.S. might impose.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) EXCHANGE BETWEEN REPORTER AND ZARIF: REPORTER: "Is there a way of going around the sanctions?" ZARIF: "I mean there's always ways of going around the sanctions.
We have a PhD in that area." The Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on Iran.
Last year, it pulled out of a multinational nuclear deal and re-imposed harsh sanctions on its economy.
And last month it added Tehran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to a list of terrorist organizations.
Zarif told Reuters he didn't believe President Trump wants an armed confrontation with Iran, but that some in the administration do.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF, SAYING: "I don't think he wants war.
He ran on a campaign.
But that doesn't exclude him being basically lured into one." Zarif grouped together national security adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- accusing them of trying to raise tensions in the region.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF, SAYING: "It would make it a crisis if the United States decided to take any irrational action.
Or, if accidents were to happen.
Or, if people tried to plot an accident." The U.S. says it's trying to cut off Iran's oil revenue, accusing Tehran of using the money to fund militants in Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Yemen.