Sanctions can’t weaken Iran: Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN (FNA, July 3)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played down effects of sanctions on Iran, saying that despite enemy assumptions, pressures and embargos will not be able to weaken the Iranian nation.

“The sanctions imposed against our country have been the heaviest and harshest imposed against any country thus far, and the enemy assumption that they can weaken Iran is, of course, wrong and a result of their merely materialistic calculations,” Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.

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Noting that oil revenues constitute less than 10% of Iran’s economy, he said, “We should see the sanctions as an opportunity to cut the present level of the dependence of the country’s budget on oil (revenues) and the enemies will no more be able to use oil as a sanction weapon.”

“We should resist against pressures and live through this stage with honor and respond to the hostile policies of enemy by moving past the sanctions very mightily and powerfully,” Ahmadinejad said.

Iranian officials have always downplayed the power and impacts of the western sanctions and restrictions on Iran, and said the pressures exerted on the Iranians have actually backfired as they have stimulated the country’s scientific progress.

Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi in remarks on Sunday praised Iran’s unbelievably fast progress in various areas of science and technology, and said the country has attained the goals of its plans for scientific progress 13 years ahead of the targeted date envisioned in the country’s 20-year outlook plan.

“Fortunately, Iran has managed to rank first in science in the region 13 years ahead of the (20-year) Outlook Plan (for development),” Rahimi said in a ceremony here in Tehran on Sunday.

Iran has made huge achievements in various fields of science and technology, from nuclear knowledge to stem cells and Nano technology, in the last two decades.

Rahimi pointed to the western sanctions against Iran, and noted, “The oppressive powers have imposed the harshest sanctions against the Iranian nation not because of the acquisition of the nuclear knowledge, but for its efforts towards progress and development.”

Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

Tehran has dismissed the West’s demand as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians’ national resolve to continue the path.