Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today the country would never retreat in the face of new sanctions.
During a video speech delivered to a military university, Khamenei addressed the new US sanctions and the maximum pressure strategy, saying, “We will not ignore the role of the malicious Americans and their sanctions on the economy, which are certainly criminal.” He added that Iran will make them regret their maximum pressure.
In response to US President Donald Trump boasting about the damage US sanctions have done to Iran’s economy, Khamenei said, “Taking pride in such crimes can only come from such a scoundrel as yourself.” He continued, saying that sanctions would be an “avenue to create a real economic resistance.”
Economic resistance is an idea pushed by Khamenei that promotes independence and self-sufficiency economically and in domestic production.
Throwing cold water on the idea that Iran would negotiate, Khamenei said, “Even though many of our problems are related to outside of the country, the cure is domestic.” He added, “We must not search for the cure outside of the country because we do not see any good or interests and we must not allow the voices of the thugs who control the American nation to occupy anyone’s mind.”
The US Treasury sanctioned 18 Iranian banks last week. The new sanctions are part of Washington's maximum pressure campaign to force Iran to renegotiate another nuclear deal, among other demands. The United States exited the agreement — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — in May 2018, and began reapplying US sanctions on those conducting business with Iran. As a result, Iran began taking steps away from the nuclear limitations they adopted as part of the nuclear deal as a tactic to pressure Europe to remain in the deal and ignore US sanctions. That tactic has failed, as Europe has urged the United States to abide by terms of the deal but have complied with US sanctions. The new US sanctions would limit Iran’s ability to import medicine and food by closing the few remaining avenues the country has to purchase them.
Khamenei’s statements today make clear he is not planning of having the country negotiate new terms with the Trump administration before the November elections. Trump has made numerous comments that if reelected he would sign a new deal with Iran in a very short time. The previous nuclear deal was the product of years of negotiation that culminated in marathon talks that involved not just the United States and Iran but also other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany.
Iran’s economy is not only in a difficult situation but they are also one of the worst hit nations when it comes to the coronavirus. Yesterday the country hit a record high of daily deaths with 251, with the total so far reaching over 28,000 deaths. According to health officials, the actual number is certainly higher. After enduring various nationwide and local lockdowns, the country is now trying to manage the virus through health protocols until a vaccine arrives.