GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. sanctions are putting unprecedented pressure on Iranians while “first class idiots” are running Washington’s policy, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday.
U.S. President Donald Trump last year pulled out of an international pact on Iran’s nuclear program and re-imposed sanctions intended to scupper Tehran’s oil exports, curb its missile program and clip its regional influence.
The measures have hit Iran’s economy hard.
“The sanctions do put pressure on the country and the people,” Khamenei said, according to a transcript on his website of a speech in Tehran to commemorate an event from the 1979 revolution.
“The Americans happily say that these sanctions are unprecedented in history. Yes, they’re unprecedented. And the defeat that the Americans will face will be unprecedented, God willing,” he added.
Khamenei lambasted U.S. officials’ approach to Iran as irrational, saying: “They are first-class idiots.”
Iran’s economy has faced instability in recent months with the rial fluctuating in value, making it difficult for ordinary people to make ends meet.
Sporadic protests linked to the tough economic situation have been led by truck drivers, farmers, workers, merchants and teachers, occasionally resulting in violent confrontations with security forces.
The Iranian government must help the country’s weakest, Khamenei added in his speech.
Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne