Iran’s Supreme Leader identified politics and economics as his country’s chief challenges as he marked the Iranian New Year, which began on March 20.
Ayatollah Khamenei acknowledged the “severity” of international sanctions imposed on Iran but added that, rather than crippling Iran, the sanctions had given rise to “numerous achievements.”
He also acknowledged that the Iranian people have borne the brunt of the economic downturn, admitting that domestic mismanagement had been instrumental in “aiding the plans of the country’s enemies.”
Iran’s oil revenues have fallen significantly due to sanctions, while inflation and household expenses have risen sharply.
While these developments have been partly blamed on the international sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. and the EU, the Ahmadinejad administration has also faced criticism for its alleged economic mismanagement.
The Islamic Republic leader stressed that the West has not managed to isolate Iran politically, citing the Non-Aligned Movement’s meeting in Tehran as a prime example.
Calling this year’s presidential election a pivotal event, he called for broad public participation. The presidential election is slated for June 2013.