Khamenei Acknowledges Iran's Problems 'Internal,' Not Purely U.S. Sanctions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Ankara Turkey

There have been widespread protests and strikes in recent weeks over high prices, unemployment and the wider management of the economy. "I do not call it betrayal but a huge mistake in management", Iranian state TV quoted Khamenei as saying, in his first reaction to the reimposition of U.S. sanctions. He says "along with sanctions, Americans have recently raised two more options, war and talks".

Also on Monday, Iran said it launched a production line for a radar-evading, short-range missile. State broadcaster IRIB said the new Fateh Mobin missile had "successfully passed its tests" and could hit targets on land and sea. They also ban purchases of U.S. dollars by Iran and sanction its automotive sector. "America never remains loyal to its promises in talks", said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on policy in the Islamic Republic.

He referred specifically to the collapse in the currency, which has lost around half its value since April. Iran has denounced the sanctions as "U.S. unilateralism".

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Khamenei meanwhile blamed the monetary crisis on President Hassan Rouhani's administration, saying it resulted from "management problems unrelated to the sanctions".

State media said that 67 officials had been sacked and arrested on suspicion of crimes ranging from corruption to economic sabotage. While the U.S. has been pressing its allies to completely refuse Iranian oil imports, the Islamic Republic has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, effectively blocking all the oil shipments from the Persian Gulf, should they accede to American demands. "Negotiation with the bullying and very eager government of the US means giving it an instrument through which it can add to its hostility", he said.

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