Pompeo to urge mounting pressure on Iran

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U.S. officials said in June they would push countries to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero. "The armed forces... are ready to serve in line with the nation's welfare and interests", he said during a conference of the Defense Ministry's senior managers.

He stopped short of offering any specifics during an interview with Sky News Arabia.

On Friday, the remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal vowed to keep Iran plugged into the global economy despite the U.S. withdrawal and sanctions threat.

"The one that we are most focused on today is ... that we deny Iran the financial capacity to continue this bad behavior", Mr. Pompeo said. "So it's a broad range, a series of sanctions aimed not at the Iranian people, but rather aimed at the single mission of convincing the Iranian regime that its malign behavior is unacceptable and has a real high cost for them".

The statement came a a day after Iran's charge d'affaires Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi was quoted as telling a seminar in New Delhi that India had not fulfilled its promise of making investments in Chabahar and that New Delhi stands to lose "privileges" if it cuts imports of Iranian oil due to pressure from the United States. "That's the commitment we have had for decades".

This acknowledgment coincides with the Iranian parliament vice president Ali Motahari threat to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran on Wednesday said it will continue to be a reliable energy partner for India and adopt a flexible approach to ensuring secure oil supplies. While allies like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait say they are willing to increase their own production as necessary, additional output may not be enough to satiate demand.

The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.

U.S. benchmark crude traded near $75 a barrel on Tuesday, while Brent crude traded near $80.

"... If India were to replace Iran with countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, the USA and others for the 10 per cent of its oil demand then it may have to revert to dollar-denominated imports which mean higher CAD (Current Account Deficit) and deprivation of all other privileges Iran has offered to India", Rahaghi said. He warned such imports largely would be "sanctionable activity and we will enforce those sanctions". "Trump administration will push for zero crude, condensate and products exports from Iran", said Sri Paravaikkarasu, Head of East of Suez Oil at energy consultancy FGE.

Iran on Tuesday indicated withdrawal of all privileges extended to India in bilateral trade, including payments in rupee and long-term credit, if New Delhi cuts back on oil imports from Tehran in the wake of U.S. sanctions on oil trade that will kick in on November 4.