Oil tankers pass through the Strait of Hormuz, December 21 2018. Picture: REUTERS/HAMAD MOHAMMED
Oil tankers pass through the Strait of Hormuz, December 21 2018. Picture: REUTERS/HAMAD MOHAMMED

Dubai — Iran has opened its first oil terminal in the Gulf of Oman, outgoing President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday, to allow Iranian tankers to avoid using the strategically vulnerable Strait of Hormuz, which 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," Rouhani said in a televised speech. "This new crude export terminal shows the failure of Washington’s sanctions on Iran."

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

Iran’s main oil export terminal is located at the port of Kharg inside the Strait of Hormuz. The new terminal means in the event of a disruption Iran’s oil exports will not be cut off.

“Today is a great historic day for the Iranian nation,”  Rouhani said.

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

Tehran and US 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 programme in return for the lifting of most international sanctions.

"The implementation of the Jask port crude oil transfer project took place with about $2bn investment," Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said, according to the ministry’s Shana website.

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 Revolutionary Guards and the US military in the area.

Reuters 

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