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      White House: Sanctions Having Profound Impact on Iran

      The White House says that Ahmadinejad's latest warnings on the state of Iran's economy, proved the "profound impact" of nuclear sanctions.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/18/2013, 6:42 AM

      Ahmadinejad
      Ahmadinejad
      AFP/File

      The White House said on Thursday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's latest warnings on the state of Iran's economy, proved the "profound impact" of nuclear sanctions, AFP reports.

      Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that Tehran needed to tailor the economy to subvert Western sanctions, saying the current approach would be a "losing strategy."

      White House spokesman Jay Carney said the comments were the latest sign that "the comprehensive international, multinational effort to sanction Iran has been effective in the sense that it has had a profound impact on the Iranian economy."

      "Iran is paying a high price for its refusal to abide by its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and will continue to pay a high price," said Carney.

      He said there was a "different path" available to Iran if it would seriously abide by comments to open its nuclear program, which the West believes is designed to make weapons, to international inspections.

      In remarks to Iranian lawmakers, Ahmadinejad said one solution would be to "ultimately decide to once and for all cut the government's dependence on oil revenues," warning that it would create "pressure as the result."

      Iran lost a substantial part of its oil revenues in 2012 due to sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program, Iranian officials have said.

      Estimated by experts at around five billion dollars per month, the loss in oil revenues has led to a contraction of the 2013/2014 budget being prepared by the government, according to some MPs.

      The sanctions have also had a role in the collapse of the Iranian currency and thus soaring prices, exerting "pressure on a large part of the people," Ahmadinejad said, according to AFP.

      Previously, Ahmadinejad steadfastly denied that the sanctions are hurting the economy. Last week, however, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi broke ranks with and admitted that the sanctions have sliced oil exports by 45 percent.

      The Iranian President said last month that while the sanctions "have led to a drop in our oil", they did not break down Iran's economy as the West had hoped.

      Ahmadinejad has faced increasing scrutiny at home for economic woes, including the collapse of the national currency, which lost more than two-thirds of its value in a 20-day span starting in late September.

      Reports this week indicated that hundreds of thousands of Iranians with serious illnesses have been put at imminent risk by the unintended consequences of international sanctions.

      The sanctions have led to dire shortages of life-saving medicines such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer and blood clotting agents for hemophiliacs, according to a report in the British Guardian.

      Western governments have built waivers into the sanctions regime, aimed at persuading Tehran to curb its nuclear program, in an effort to ensure that essential medicines get through, but those waivers are not functioning, as they conflict with blanket restrictions on banking, as well as bans on "dual-use" chemicals which might have a military application.