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.
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.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Qasem from: Iran
October 10, 2012 4:50 PM
VOA...!!! why you do not display comments???

by: Jamal from: USA
October 10, 2012 4:22 PM
By the way, I know VOA will never publish my blogs. Because the truth hurts!

by: Jamal from: USA
October 10, 2012 4:21 PM
There is NO DOUBT that the currency crisis is fabricated by Iran's enemies. Logic tells you their money is backed up by black gold (oil), how can it tumble to 3 times less of it's value in 3 weeks "IF" logic was the reason. It is as Ahmadinejad said, a psychological assault on the Iranians everywhere. At least that's what "logic" and common sense will tell you.

by: Jamal from: USA
October 10, 2012 4:17 PM
America will do well by herself if she stops meddling in ME affairs. Iran has been there for at least 2500 years and will be there for at least another 2500 more. It is as old as there is in ancient civilization. We should stop demonizing Iran which has not started a war for over 200 years, and learn to live in peace like they have for the last couple centuries, instead of demonizing and warmongering against them to serve all her enemies except the US. Iran is a rich nation, both culturally and in natural resources. 3 decades of warmongering hasn't made a bit of difference when it comes to them doing what we want them to do. And what we want them to do is not necessarily legal, as they are a signatory to the NPT. Stop the warmongering against my people in Iran. They have done NOTHING to the US or anyone else for that matter. Stop the warmongering against Iran.

by: Azam Shah from: Iran
October 10, 2012 3:30 PM
I tell you West America Europe... this guy is Turkey... he is not Iranian... America, you don't understand. Ayatollahs are a brutal occupying force on Iran. They destroyed our past, they attack our natural allies and they support terrorist organizations in Iraq Azerbaijan, Syria, Lebanon... they make many of us people that can write English to distort "overt" operations on your media... they have destroy our future... please listen... Ayatollahs are blood suckers that leach and consume the vital strength of our nation... Iranian don't want Nuks, please believe me, we try to do all we can but the Ayatollahs are a Fascist organization just like Nazis with brutal internal security... you will not believe if i told you more.
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