Ahmad Khatami

Tehran’s Friday Mass Prayer leader Ahmad Khatami told worshippers today that the EU oil embargo will result in serious difficulties for participating countries.

Iranian media report that Khatami said: “A nation that wants no one to dictate its actions must pay the price for it.”

He added that, at most, 17 percent of Iran’s oil exports are purchased by European countries, adding that the decision to boycott Iranian oil will only compound Europe’s economic problems.

He said: “We have customers that are begging for our oil, but Europe is dropping itself into a well with the rotten rope of the United States, which is suicide.”

He maintained that 30 years of sanctions have led to “significant progress in the nuclear field” in Iran and he expressed hope that the new sanctions would only serve to wean the Iranian economy from its dependence on oil exports.

On Monday, EU member states announced they are boycotting Iranian oil. Effective immediately, EU countries will sign no new agreements to purchase Iranian petroleum products, and all existing agreements have to be ended by July 1.

Khatami mocked the-six month delay, calling it a sign of Europe’s economic crisis.

He also denounced a Saudi claim that it can fulfill the demand for Iranian oil in the crude market. That claim was made by the Saudi Oil Minister and was never backed by the Saudi administration.

Khatami criticized the Ahmadinejad administration for its slow response to an upheaval in the currency market but he assured the public that the economy is stable.

Western countries have speculated that the new sanctions have been effective in wreaking havoc on the Iranian economy, given the fall of the rial and rising inflation.

The Iranian administration denies such speculation, and new measures by the Central Bank appear to have helped stabilize the national currency.