Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, says Iran’s dependence on crude exports is a “trap” and the country needs to wean its economy off oil revenues.
ISNA reports that in a meeting with Iranian researchers and experts on Sunday, the Supreme Leader said: “Producing wealth from finite resources such as oil is self-deception.”
He added that Iran must reach a point where it can block its oil wells and end the sale of crude products.
Ayatollah Khamenei went on to add: “It is possible to reach such a point by relying on science and the knowledge base.”
Iran produces 4.2 million barrels of oil per day, of which 1.7 million is for domestic consumption.
Oil exports account for about 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenues. Since U.S. and EU sanctions on Iranian oil took effect in the past month, Iran has had to deal with a significant drop in its oil revenues.
Iranian officials, however, have played down the effect of sanctions. Iranian vice president Mohammadreza Rahimi said earlier: “They do not know Iran, because oil only plays a role in 10 percent of the country’s economy.”
He added that in the past year, Iran’s non-petroleum exports passed $53 billion, and this year there are plans to raise that to between $70 billion and $75 billion.
Despite such statements, reports from Iran indicate that the economy is facing definite challenges, with the Iranian currency flagging and the price of basic goods soaring.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had earlier called for the adoption of a “resistance economy” to overcome the current difficulties by focusing on domestic production.