DUBAI, July 11 Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei on Wednesday dismissed harsher sanctions imposed on
Iran this month over its disputed nuclear activity, saying the
country was "100 times stronger" than before.
A European Union embargo on Iranian crude oil took full
effect on July 1 - a joint effort with the United States to
force Tehran to curb nuclear energy work the Western powers say
is a camouflaged bid to develop bombs, which Tehran denies.
Prices of goods have soared and the Iranian rial has plunged
in value as broader, deeper sanctions have been introduced this
year targeting Iran's financial and energy sectors.
"The Iranian nation, through life, wealth and loved ones,
has stood up to all plots and sanctions and has advanced to the
extent that today we are 100 times stronger compared with 30
years ago," Khamenei told a women's conference in Tehran in a
speech that was published on his official website.
"These days Westerners are being sensational about sanctions
but they don't understand that they themselves vaccinated Iran
through their sanctions imposed over the last 30 years," he
said. Iran's Islamic Revolution a little over three decades ago
toppled the U.S.-backed shah.
Iranian officials regularly shrug off sanctions, saying they
have little or no effect on the country. But a combination of
increasing unemployment, substantial price rises and rampant
inflation is creating tough new challenges for the government.
Industry sources say Iran's oil exports have declined in the
wake of the EU crude ban and extensive U.S. diplomatic efforts
to get Iran's main customers to cut their imports.
The United States imposed sanctions in 1979, soon after the
Islamic Revolution that overthrew its monarchy. Successive U.S.
administrations have added to the embargo, effectively creating
a near total ban on any trade between it and Iran.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of
international sanctions specifically targeting Iran's nuclear
activities. Tehran says its uranium enrichment programme is for
peaceful energy purposes only.
Six world powers and Iran have had several rounds of
negotiations on how to defuse concerns over its nuclear
ambitions this year but found no common ground for a deal.
Senior diplomats from the EU and Iran will meet on July 24
for technical talks to try to salvage diplomatic efforts to
resolve the decade-long standoff.