TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The West has launched an “all-out … war” against Iran by imposing oil and banking sanctions on his country, Iran’s president charged Tuesday.
In July, the European Union banned oil imports from Iran, just after the U.S. enacted tough measures against Iran’s central bank. The sanctions, aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear development program, have severely harmed Iran’s economy.
Speaking on a live TV talk show, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “It is an all-out, hidden, heavy war.”
Ahmadinejad admitted that the West’s sanctions have created problems in oil exports and banking.
“There are barriers in transferring money, there are barriers in selling oil,” said Ahmadinejad.
“We are going ahead, and God willing we will succeed,” said Ahmadinejad. “We are removing” the barriers, he said, without saying how.
Ahmadinejad said the banking embargo has affected Iran’s ability to supply basic needs such as meat.
The West’s sanctions are meant to press Iran to stop enriching uranium. The West suspects Iran is aiming for nuclear weapons production.
Iran denies the charge, insisting its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes like power generation and cancer treatment.
Iran relies on crude oil exports for some 80 percent of its foreign revenue.
According to the International Energy Agency, Iran’s crude oil production has fallen steadily from nearly 4 million barrels a day in May to 2.9 million barrels a day in July. Imports of Iranian oil by major consumers plunged to 1 million barrels a day in July from 1.74 million barrels a day in June.
Ahmadinejad also repeated his previous statements that Iran is a friend to the American people and other nations — except Israel.
“We have no argument with Americans. We like them like other nations,” said Ahmadinejad. He said “ruling groups” in the U.S. have worked against relations with Iran, an apparent reference to the pro-Israel lobby.
The remarks preceded Ahmadinejad’s trip to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly later this month.
The U.S. and Iran have had no diplomatic relations since hardliners stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held hostages there for more than a year, after Iran’s Islamic Revolution that ousted a pro-Western monarchy.
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