News / Middle East

Iranian Leaders React to Increasing Pain of Economic Sanctions



Iran is reacting to the increasing pain of economic sanctions. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is urging greater efficiency and motivation, and Iran's vice president is threatening to stop doing business in dollars and euros.

As new U.S. and U.N. economic sanctions step up the pressure on Iran's economy, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is urging his countrymen to change their habits. Fars News Agency reports that the Ayatollah wants Iranians to work harder, use more initiative and be more creative.

Top Iranian vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi also told journalists Friday that the government was planning to stop selling oil in euros and dollars. Iran has threatened to stop selling oil in dollars, before, but with limited success. It was the first time that Tehran has threatened to stop using the euro.

European Union ambassadors, meeting in Brussels, agreed Thursday to a new package of sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector. The sanctions must be approved Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers. The U.N. and U.S. imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, last month, to force it to stop enriching uranium for its controversial nuclear program.

An Iranian delegation, including Oil Minister Massoud Mir-Kazemi, met with Turkish counterparts in Ankara this week, to sign a deal to build a new natural gas pipeline and to increase gas sales to Turkey. Iran signed a similar deal with Pakistan, last month, although it is not clear if it will be implemented.

Deputy Oil Minister and head of the National Iranian Gas Company Javad Owji describes the deal.

He says that a new pipeline will be laid between Mindana and Bazargan, near the Turkish border, to increase the volume of Iranian gas sold to Turkey. He adds that Turkey will own 77 percent of the project and Iran 23 percent, and that it will take three years to complete.

In other economic news, Iran's commerce minister Mehdi Ghazanfari repeated an earlier warning by parliament speaker Ali Larijani that Tehran would respond to any inspection of its cargo ships on the high seas. The latest U.N. sanctions authorize the inspection of any suspicious cargo on ships or planes bound for Iran.

Analyst Houchang Hassan-yari, who teaches at Canada's Royal Military College, says that the recent reactions of Iranian leaders demonstrate a growing realization on their part that sanctions are starting to have a negative impact on their economy.

"All those [economic] problems and all those reactions [by Iranian leaders] are a response to the sanctions imposed by not only the fourth U.N. Security Council [sanctions] resolution, but maybe more importantly the unilateral sanctions imposed by America and now by the European Union," he said.

Recent energy shortages, including gasoline rationing, he argues, are starting to affect all sectors of the Iranian economy. "When, in the context of Iran, you talk about the rise in the price of gas, you will see the impact of that on everything else, and I mean everything: not only transportation, but also production or presentation of tomatoes in the market, bread….everything is going to be impacted," said Hassan-yari.

Hassan-yari says that Iranian threats to retaliate against searches of cargo vessels are mostly empty rhetoric, because many are no longer even willing to sail to Iranian ports due to insurance issues. Lloyds of London began refusing to insure ships sailing to Iran, last week.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs