News / Middle East

    Iran's Supreme Leader Calls EU Support for Sanctions 'Foolish'

    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012.Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012.
    x
    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012.
    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012.
    Iran’s supreme leader has lashed out at European nations for supporting economic sanctions against his country in the latest salvo by an Iranian political leader responding to the country’s currency crisis.

    In a speech in the northeastern city of Bojnourd on Wednesday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the European states “foolish.”

    “They are sacrificing themselves for the sake of America, and it’s foolish,” he told a crowd during a speech broadcast on state television. “This [sanctions] is a war against a nation. Of course, with the grace of God, they will be defeated by the Iranian nation in this war.”

    Khamenei contrasted last week’s street protests against the plummeting value of the rial in Tehran with ongoing economic protests in Europe.

    “For an hour or two a number of people set two or three garbage cans on fire in a couple of streets in Tehran, and they [the Westerners] started to celebrate and said there are protests in Iran,” Khamenei said. “Is our situation worse than yours? There have been protests on streets of major European countries for around one year, during day and night. Your problem is far more complicated than ours. Your economy is frozen. Do you celebrate that Iran’s economy has been weakened? It’s you that are wretched.”

    Khamenei also addressed the notion that some of Iran’s economic problems are homegrown, saying inflation and unemployment are the country’s two most important problems but that they could be solved.

    “They [sanctions] may create problems. Mismanagement may even increase these problems. That’s correct but it’s not something the Islamic Republic can’t resolve,” he said.

    Khamenei called the sanctions “illogical” and “barbaric” and said the relationship between sanctions and Iran’s nuclear program is a “lie.”

    Bernd Kaussler, an assistant professor at James Madison University in Virginia who focuses on Iran, agrees that the coordinated international effort to put pressure on the Iranian economy is starting to create problems for Tehran.

    “It seems to me that Europe has come a long way from the early days of constructive engagement and is now in tandem with U.S. policy, to the extent that EU sanctions against Iran are in accordance with legislation passed in the U.S.,” he said.

    Khamenei is the latest Iranian leader to address the people in the wake of a dramatic decline in the value of the country’s currency, the rial.

    Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed “psychological pressures” linked to Western sanctions for the currency fall while also denying charges by political rivals that his economic policies have worsened the situation.

    Also last week, hardline cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami told worshippers at Tehran University “these [economic] pressures won’t last,” and that Iran “has proven that it will not be worn down by pressures and has experienced how to live with problems.”

    The rial has lost a third of its value in the past week and dropped as much as 80 percent over the past year, further compromising Iran’s already shaky economy. Iran’s official inflation rate is 25 percent. Western sanctions have severely restricted the country’s ability to sell oil on the world market and limited its access to the international banking system.

    The sanctions have been imposed over Iran’s refusal to stop its uranium enrichment program. Iran claims the uranium is for nuclear energy, while the U.S. and its allies say Iran is striving to build nuclear weapons.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: RLEE from: China
    October 12, 2012 5:29 AM
    Why US, Russia and China can own nuclear weapons, and other countries cannot? It is unfair! If there were any treaty, it is an unfair treaty!

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    October 11, 2012 7:30 PM
    The restrictions on oil imports from Iran is affecting the economy of the country. The fuming and freting of Ayatollah Khamenie and Ahmedinejad are the clear indication of the effectiveness on oil trade restrictions with Iran. The street protests reveal the harsh economic realities of Iran.

    The US and EU should further tighten the restrictions on India, China, Japan and South Korea who have reduced the oil imports from Iran by only 10%. These Asian countries should be served notice for circumventing the oil trade restrictions with Iran. There should be total ban of oil imports from Iran. Can Obama or the next President of the US and the EU take action against the Asian countries that continue oil imports from Iran?

    With less oil sold, Iran is supplying oil to Asian countries at reduced prices, trading in local currencies to circumvent bank restrictions and shipping oil in Iranian tankers to circumvent lack of shipping insurance by western countries.

    There is plenty of oil in the world market. The oil import restrictions should be tightened on the Asian countries still importing oil from Iran. Further restrictions will not affect the US or EU economy because of the availability of plenty of oil in the world market. Saudi Arabia has offered to increase production if necessary. Iraq will be adding more oil to the world market. This is the best time for total ban on oil imports from Iran. If the Asian countries does not fully comply to oil import restrictions, the possibility of blockade of all oil shipments from Iran should be considered.

    by: Seeker2 from: USA
    October 11, 2012 7:29 PM
    Thank you, Azam Shah, for speaking despite the possible repercussions you face. You should realize it's just as wrong to be a slave as a slave master. The good people of Iran must rise up to drive off the power-seeking ayatollahs. That action to not be enslaved is just as true for us in the USA as it is anywhere else in the world. Moreover, the ayatollahs have usurped Islam to their own benefit, driving a hatred wedge into the hearts of otherwise good, honest Muslims. You cannot allow the great historical significance of the Iranian people to continued to be blemished by their power seeking. Russia has similar problems and yes, we have some of the same in the USA. All people deserve to be democratically free and to worship in a peaceful manner. Hate has no place in any relationship with the Almighty.

    by: John
    October 11, 2012 6:03 PM
    The american and the biggest gangster of the world. It has the biggest nuclear weapons and help some of the other countries to make nuclear weapons while punish the countries which it doesn`t like. the Europe is also the watchdog of America.

    by: race_to_the_bottom from: USA
    October 11, 2012 4:53 PM
    "the U.S. and its allies say Iran is striving to build nuclear weapons"

    I see this at the end of every AP story on Iran. I don't know why because it is the OFFICIAL position of the US that all 16 US intelligence agencies the Iran terminated its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not decided to build a nuclear weapon. That's it. Israel agrees too, so why does the AP and EVERY other news media in the US always include this line.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 11, 2012 6:44 AM
    The use of the term 'sacrifice' by Ayatollah Khamenei is a sure sign of the direction Iran's nuclear ambition is drifting. Sacrifice of what? It only points to earlier revelations that Iran will points its nuclear missile at America (first) and Europe (second) even before its touted enemy Israel. But whether the Iranian leaders want to tell their people the truth or not, it remains to be seen how Iran wriggles out of the sanctions in today's global village. Isolation cannot help. Iran must drop the prohibitive nuclear ambition to get reintegrated into society. Otherwise its worst is yet to come.

    by: AZAM KING from: IRAN
    October 11, 2012 5:57 AM
    Yo azam SHah ....stop writing bs....You obviously are a weak person and probably are a loner in your life and thus your weak soul is quick to talk a lot of shhh....needless to say I dont agree with the Iranian government however I am a persian and the way i see it West removed shah cause iranian people were getting powerful in the world and now they wanna weaken it more.....WEST IS OUR ENEMY.....

    by: Anonymous
    October 11, 2012 5:29 AM
    I am sure that Iranian people defeat USA. you say lie. why are you international police while you are only country that use atomic bomb against Japan. the right is with Iran

    by: Haris from: Hong Kong
    October 11, 2012 2:11 AM
    Its amazing! The west speaks of Sanctions. The Ayatollah incites War. Obviously a very educated man. I mean to say He may have education, but he is not very well versed in politics. Its a shame that so many people follow blindly.

    by: Azam Shah from: Iran
    October 10, 2012 8:47 PM
    Shame on you VOA !!! shame on you America... if you know how dangerous it is for us to write to you from Iran... if you know what Iranian regime will do to our families - and you remain silent - Shame on you AMERICA ... we tried to tell you our story... the "left" in America is murderous - you don't want to hear - this will be a stain on your soul
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora