Iran Opens Oil Terminal in Gulf of Oman to Circumvent Fraught Waterway

President Rohani says Iran has set its sights on exporting 1 billion barrels of oil per day from the new terminal, which allows Tehran to avoid the Strait of Hormuz, a bottleneck crossing where Iranian and U.S. forces have clashed

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The Iranian-made warship Makran takes part in an exercise in the Gulf of Oman, in this picture obtained on January 14, 2021
The Iranian-made warship Makran takes part in an exercise in the Gulf of Oman, in this picture obtained in JanuaryCredit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/ REUTERS

Iran has opened its first oil terminal in the Gulf of Oman, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Thursday, to allow Tehran to avoid using the Strait of Hormuz shipping route that has been a focus of regional tension for decades.

"This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports," Rohani said in a televised speech.

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"Today, the first shipment of 100 tonnes of oil is loaded outside the Strait of Hormuz. This shows the failure of the U.S. sanctions.

Rohani said Iran aimed to export 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Bandar-e Jask, a port on Iran's Gulf of Oman coast, just south of the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has often threatened to block the Strait if its crude exports were shutdown by U.S. sanctions, reimposed by Washington three years ago when then president Donald Trump abandoned Tehran's nuclear deal with six major powers.

Tehran and U.S. President Joe Biden's administration have been in indirect talks in Vienna since early April to revive the deal, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of most international sanctions.

The Strait is a narrow channel at the mouth of the Gulf through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes from Middle East producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.

There have been periodic confrontations between Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and the U.S. military in the area.

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