With tensions high ahead of the return of United States sanctions on Tuesday, the government of President Hassan Rouhani also faces opposition from conservatives and religious leaders, who have long disliked his outreach to the West and accuse him of governing only for the rich.
In return, United Nations-approved sanctions were lifted, and Iran was allowed to resume trading oil and gas on the global market.
But Trump, a long-time critic of the deal who succeeded Barack Obama as president a year ago, pulled out of the pact despite repeated assurances by United Nations inspectors that Iran is in compliance with its obligations.
Sporadic protests broke out in several cities in Iran for a fifth night on Saturday, a day after demonstrators attacked a seminary, according to Iranian news agencies and social media, as Iranians brace for a return of USA sanctions. Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard on Sunday acknowledged conducting recent naval exercises near the crucial Strait of Hormuz after renewing threats to cut off the waterway to oil traders. The U.S. also said that it would exert "maximum economic and diplomatic pressure" on other countries to stop buying crude oil from Iran.
The oil market has been speculating about how much of Iran's exports could be eroded by the US sanctions, with analysts from BMI Research to Mizuho Securities predicting that China might boost its imports of cheap supplies from the state and offset cuts by other nations.
In Washington, the US State Department said on its Persian-language Twitter account: "While it is ultimately up to the #people_of_Iran to determine their country's path, #America supports the voice of the Iranian people, which has been ignored for a long time".
The first phase hits on Tuesday with blocks on financial transactions and imports of raw materials, as well as sanctions on Iran's automotive sector and commercial aircraft purchases.
When pressed by CNBC to answer the questions she was raising, Croft replied, "I think this market will tighten at the end of this year", and added that Venezuelan production continues to fall and will be a contributing factor.
Preliminary tanker arrival data cited by Reuters on Thursday showed that the Asian country increased purchases of Iranian crude by about 30 percent to a record 768,000 barrels per day (bpd) as state refiners' intake surged ahead of U.S. sanctions in November.
Anti-government demonstrators in several cities stretched into a fourth day in Iran, with protesters attacking an Islamic seminary west of the capital, Tehran, according to Iranian news agencies and social media reports on Saturday.
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