Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed the gravity of economic woes and protests in Iran and maintained that “the sanctions implemented against Iran are an act of savagery.”
In a speech aired on state television on Wednesday, October 10, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Today, our enemies, the media and others join voices to exaggerate the issue of sanctions. Sanctions are not an issue limited to the present. We have had these sanctions since the beginning; they have now been intensified.”
“Today, our enemies and the United States connect sanctions to the nuclear issue but they lie. But when they began the sanctions against our country there was no nuclear issue. They pretend that if the Iranian people let go of nuclear energy, the sanctions would be removed, but they lie.”
The U.S. and EU have imposed severe sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors, and many analysts claim the sanctions have destabilized Iranian economy, which is evident in the rapid devaluation of the national currency.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful, but the world powers fear that it may have a military component.
Iran’s Supreme Leader maintained that the current sanctions against Iran are akin to a declaration of “war against the people of Iran,” but stressed that the Iranian people will triumph.
The Iranian leader referred to the recent demonstrations in Tehran’s Great Bazaar in protest against the instability of the currency market and said: “the West declares joy as soon as they see a bit of difficulty in Iran…in recent days their media have been focusing on the issue of currency fluctuations in Iran.”
“When a few people come into the streets for a couple of hours in Tehran and set fire to a few garbage bins, they celebrate on the other side of the world that there is unrest in Iran. But they are in a worse situation. For the past year, the streets of Europe have been the scene of constant demonstrations. Your problem is by far more complicated. Your economy completely frozen.”
The Iranian leader called on the different government bodies to avoid division and blaming each other and instead to concentrate on their own responsibilities.
The Ahmadinejad administration has been heavily criticized by the parliament and other senior officials for failed economic policies and lack of appropriate action for control of the currency market.
Last Wednesday, Tehran’s Great Bazaar witnessed heavy demonstrations in protest against the economic instability in the country which led to clashes with security forces and an unspecified number of arrests.
The bazaar closed down until the end of the week, but the currency market still remains volatile, and scores have been arrested by the authorities and charged with disrupting the market.