Effect of sanctions 'like war' says Iran's Ahmadinejad

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

File:Ahmadi nejad 2012 pakistan.jpg

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pictured this year in Pakistan
Image: Sinaf7798n.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran described the effect of European Union and United States sanctions over Iran's nuclear program as "like war" Tuesday and said "[...]we are working to bypass them day and night."

The comments, live on television, were the first time that senior Iranian sources have admitted that the sanctions are having any effect. They include financial restrictions and a ban by the European Union on the export of crude oil, from which the Iranian economy receives 80% of its foreign income. In its most recent monthly report, OPEC said exports of crude had fallen to their lowest level for two decades at 2.8 million barrels per day. The country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has described the dependency on oil as "a trap" dating from before Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979 and from which the country should free itself.

Among the steps Iran has taken to circumvent sanctions is the reflagging of tankers, first to Cyprus and Malta and, more recently, to Tuvalu and Tanzania to mask their origins and allow continued oil exports. In August, the shipping registries of Tuvalu and Tanzania agreed to de-register Iranian ships following pressure from U.S. lawmakers. Howard Berman, the senior Democratic Party politician on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented then: "Iran is learning the hard way that we will not relent in applying crippling sanctions on the regime, and others are learning that evading international sanctions is a losing strategy".

Ahmadinejad predicted Tuesday that Iran would overcome the effects of sanctions while acknowledging that financial controls were affecting the ability of the country to supply basic needs.