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Iran May Step Up Nuclear Program, Supreme Leader Says

May 9, 2018

“If European companies are banned by America to do business with Iran, it is up to Europe to negotiate a solution with the U.S.,” he said.

Iranian military commanders welcomed Mr. Trump’s decision, the semiofficial news agency ISNA reported. “Iranian people never favored the nuclear deal,” the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, was quoted as saying.

Iran already faces a severe economic crisis, with high unemployment, drought, and a weakening currency.

Iran May Step Up Nuclear Program, Supreme Leader SaysIran May Step Up Nuclear Program, Supreme Leader Says

But Iranian hard-liners expressed joy at Mr. Trump’s decision. “Now all Iranians blame the United States for their troubles,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, a hard-line political analyst.

On social media, many Iranian users shared a hashtag, #untr_US_table, to signal their anger at the United States.

Oil markets were jittery on Wednesday, with Brent crude up nearly 3 percent at nearly $77 a barrel, the highest level since late 2014. Traders expressed fear that American sanctions would cut Iranian oil exports, shrinking supplies in an already tight market.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and an adversary of Iran’s, tried to calm the markets. The Energy Ministry released a statement saying that the kingdom “would work with major producers within and outside OPEC as well as major consumers to mitigate the impact of any potential shortages.”

The actions of Saudi Arabia, which applauded Mr. Trump’s decision, will be closely watched as the Iran confrontation plays out. Saudi Arabia is the only oil producer that can quickly add large volumes to its output.

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