Iran's Khamenei hopes for economic upturn in Persian New Year speech

AFP , Sunday 20 Mar 2022

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed on Sunday hopes for the improvement of his country's economy during a speech to mark Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

A handout picture provided by the office of Iran s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on March 20, 2022, shows him delivering a speech on the occasion of Noruz. AFP

Iran's economy has suffered under stringent sanctions that were reimposed by the US in 2018 after it unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

"These economic problems are curable and we hope that some of them will disappear this year," Khamenei said during his televised speech.

The problems "will not all disappear at once but gradually", he said.

Khamenei said the toughest problems encountered last year were due to "rising prices and inflation".

Iran has been holding direct talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia. The United States has been participating indirectly.

Various actors have recently suggested that an agreement is close.

"One of the most important happy events of the last year was that the Americans themselves admitted that they suffered a shameful defeat in their maximum pressure policy against Iran," Khamenei said on Sunday.

Former US President Donald Trump had used the term "maximum pressure campaign" to describe his administration's policy towards Iran, including the strict sanctions regime.

Khamenei said that the Iranian New Year, which begins on Monday, will focus on production and the creation of jobs.

"National production is the key route to overcoming the economic difficulties and challenges in the country," he said.

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