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Iran calls US efforts to cut its oil exports to zero ‘political bluff’

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Statements by the United States that it would reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero are a “political bluff”, the head of state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said, according to a report published by Tasnim news agency on Wednesday.

U.S. officials have said they aim to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero to force its leaders to change their behavior in the region. U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports are scheduled to kick in on Nov. 4. 

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NIOC head Ali Kardor said U.S. President Donald Trump had been trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports for months.

“The president of America has done whatever he can and he knows very well that getting Iran’s oil exports to zero was a political bluff,” Kardor said.

The U.S. administration has been pushing its allies to cut Iranian oil imports and encouraging Saudi Arabia, other OPEC states and Russia to pump more oil to meet any shortfall.

Kardor said Iran did not have any difficulties receiving payments for oil exports and said the Islamic Republic could accept payments in euros instead of dollars if necessary.

“There is no problem on this issue,” Kardor said, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported. “With European support there will not be a problem.”

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European powers have been trying to salvage a nuclear accord with Iran after the United States withdrew in May.

The European Union said last month it was considering setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to facilitate trade with Iran and said it could be in place before November.

European diplomats have said the SPV would create a barter system, similar to one used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to exchange Iranian oil for European goods without money changing hands.

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Kardor said Iran was scheduled to sign a new oil contract with a foreign company within two weeks, ISNA reported. He did not provide any additional information.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Louise Heavens and Edmund Blair

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White House ‘shamed into submission’: Senate finally passes Armenian genocide bill despite Trump’s objections

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In a direct refutation of the repeated objections of the Trump administration this Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

As USA Today points out, the historic move will likely complicate US-Turkey relations since it acknowledges that Turkey, then known as the Ottoman Empire, carried out the systematic killings of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1923.

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‘It’s all distractions’: CNN panel obliterates GOP for totally refusing to discuss Trump’s conduct

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A CNN panel on Thursday obliterated House Republicans for once again completely ignoring the substance of allegations against President Donald Trump and instead throwing out numerous distractions intended to deflect attention from the president's actions.

"It's been distractions about the Bidens, it's been distractions about conspiracy theories about Ukraine's involvement in the election," said CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero. "Yesterday, it was distractions about FISA and FISA so-called abuse. It was distractions from Congressman Gohmert reading calls from 1943! It's been all distractions and they won't wrestle with the actual conduct."

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Fox News’ Chris Wallace calls Trump out for promulgating ‘the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history’

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Even though Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro aggressively support President Donald Trump more often than not, he often takes to Twitter to complain when the right-wing cable news channel gives him a hard time. His main targets at Fox News include Judge Andrew Napolitano and Chris Wallace, both of whom have been highly critical of Trump at times. And when Wallace spoke at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night, he didn’t hesitate to call out Trump’s bitterly anti-media rhetoric.

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