|Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at NAM 390.(Photo by: REUTERS)|
Khamenei: Sanctions not linked to nuclear program
By JOANNA PARASZCZUK
Iran's supreme leader says West won't end pressure if Iran gives up nuke ambitions, tells EU: Our situation is better than yours.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US and EU on Wednesday
of lying over sanctions being connected to Tehran’s nuclear
Khamenei said the West had imposed sanctions on Iran ever since
the Islamic Revolution in 1979, according to reports in Iran’s Mashregh News,
which is affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps
It was the “Iranian nation’s pride and intractability” that had
angered the West, he added, calling the sanctions a “war against the Iranian
The supreme leader also accused the West of mendacity over
promises to end sanctions if Iran pledges to guarantee that its nuclear program
is peaceful and has no military component.
“They are saying that if the
[Iranian] nation gives up on their rights to nuclear energy, then the sanctions
will end. They are lying,” Khamenei said during a visit to the city of
Bojnord in North Khorasan.
Khamenei said the main reason for the banking
and oil sanctions was “brutality, spite and hatred of the Iranian
“Sanctions aren’t a matter of yesterday or today, they have
existed right from the start,” he added, stating that Iran would not capitulate
against “irrational sanctions.”
Iran’s national currency, the rial,
plummeted to an all-time low against the US dollar last week, in response to oil
and banking sanctions imposed over its nuclear program, prompting clashes in
Tehran between protesters and police.
Khamenei dismissed the riots as
insignificant compared with protests in the US and Europe.
“A few people
in Tehran set fire to a couple of garbage cans for two or three hours, and now
they’re saying Iran is in a mess. Our situation is better than yours. Why, for
two years now, your streets have been full of protesters day and night,” he
said, referring to Europe’s debt crisis.
Although Khamenei did admit that
sanctions had caused “some issues” and that there had been “some mismanagement”
of Iran’s economy, he said that Iran would solve its economic problems through
its strategy of national production, a mantra he has often
Iran’s state media have also played down the country’s economic
problems, and on Wednesday the rial-dollar rate was still blacked out on the
country’s two main exchange rate websites.
However, signs of Iran’s
deepening economic woes continue to emerge. A report by moderate conservative
website Asr-e Iran claimed that the country’s automobile production was down 42%
in the first half of the Iranian year, a significant blow to the regime’s
strategy of national production. The Iranian government has placed increased
emphasis on its auto business, the regime’s second most lucrative after oil and
gas, in an effort to create revenue in the wake of increasing
The political infighting sparked by the rial crisis continued
on Wednesday, with moderate conservative news site Khabar Online reporting that
Iranian lawmakers have now gathered 102 signatures in a petition to call
president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for parliamentary questioning over the rial
MP Mohammad Damadi, one of the sponsors of the motion, said
Tuesday that the questions would center on the currency crisis and the
president’s mismanagement of the economy.
Other political enemies of
Ahmadinejad, including Parliament speaker Ali Larijani and Expediency
Discernment Council secretary Mohsen Rezaei, both of whom are possible
presidential candidates for next year’s elections, have also rushed to use the
currency crisis to blame their rival.
Amid intensifying political
infighting over the economic crisis, Khamenei also called for unity among
“The country’s officials should know and accept their
responsibilities and not blame each other,” Khamenei said in his Wednesday
speech. “They should be united and sympathize with each other.”