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Khamenei: 'Unprecedented' US Sanctions Are Pressuring Iran

Khamenei: 'Unprecedented' US Sanctions Are Pressuring Iran

Thursday, 10 January, 2019 - 06:30
The satellite images captured by Planet Labs and published by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
US sanctions are putting unprecedented pressure on Iranians, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday, as Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that leaving a 2015 nuclear deal agreed with world powers is an option available with Tehran.

"The sanctions do put pressure on the country and the people," Khamenei said, according to a transcript on his website of a speech in Tehran to commemorate an event from the 1979 revolution.

"The Americans happily say that these sanctions are unprecedented in history. Yes, they're unprecedented,” he said.

But he lambasted US officials' approach to Iran as irrational, saying: "They are first-class idiots."

Iran's economy has faced instability in recent months with the rial fluctuating in value, making it difficult for ordinary people to make ends meet.

Sporadic protests linked to the tough economic situation have been led by truck drivers, farmers, workers, merchants and teachers, occasionally resulting in violent confrontations with security forces.

Last May, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal which saw Iran limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Meanwhile, Zarif said Wednesday that Iran will continue with its aerospace program, adding there was no international law prohibiting such a program.

Zarif, who is in New Delhi on a bilateral visit, also told Reuters that leaving the nuclear agreement is an option available with Tehran but is not the only option on the table.

His comments came as new images obtained by CNN indicated Iran is preparing to launch a remote sensing satellite into space, the latest sign that Iran is moving ahead with the planned mission despite recent warnings from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The high-resolution satellite images, captured by Planet Labs on January 4, 6 and 7, show some activity at a space center consistent with steps that were taken prior to a previous launch in 2017, according to researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

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