Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted on Tuesday that his country has “problems” exporting its oil, but said his government was determined to overcome that and other challenges posed by Western economic sanctions.
“There are some problems in selling oil and we are trying to manage it,” AFP quoted the Iranian President as having said in an interview broadcast live on state television.
Ahmadinejad accused "the enemy" of using "psychological warfare" against his country by imposing sanctions that have taken a toll on the economy.
His admission capped a recent change in tone from Iran's top leaders, who for months had denied the sanctions were having an effect.
The United States and the European Union this year dramatically ramped up the sanctions they started imposing on Iran in 2010 over its disputed nuclear program. The measures include an EU embargo on Iranian oil and U.S. sanctions on financial transactions.
Ahmadinejad was quoted as having said the collective impact “is like war.”
The sanctions are “blocking off conduits... like the conduits of selling oil, foreign exchange, our banks and the central bank,” he said, according to AFP.
Ahmadinejad said that “we are working to bypass them day and night,” for instance by telling “an oil ship which route it takes.”
But, he explained, “most of the time when an obstacle is created, it takes a long time to remove it.”
Ahmadinejad said he was confident Iran would weather the sanctions.
“We have oil and the world needs it,” he said, adding that his government was also running a “very rigid budget.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday that the international community must set a “clear red line” in order to avoid a war over Iran's controversial nuclear program.
“This is a brutal regime that is racing ahead with its nuclear program because it doesn't see a clear red line from the international community,” the report quoted Netanyahu as having said at a meeting with Israeli and U.S. servicemen wounded in conflict.
He added, “And it doesn't see the necessary resolve and determination from the international community. The greater the resolve and the clearer the red line, the less likely we'll have conflict.”
The United States has maintained that it believes there is still time for diplomacy on the Iranian nuclear issue.