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Iran Leader Moves to Bolster Economy Against Sanctions Impact

Demonstrators hold posters depicting Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a rally last week in Tehran's Azadi Square. Khamenei on Wednesday ordered his country to institute economic reforms aimed at curbing the effect of international sanctions targeting its nuclear program. Demonstrators hold posters depicting Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a rally last week in Tehran's Azadi Square. Khamenei on Wednesday ordered his country to institute economic reforms aimed at curbing the effect of international sanctions targeting its nuclear program. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday called for reforms to reduce the effect of global nuclear sanctions on his nation's economy, the Associated Press reports.

"If [Iran] pursues ... an economy of resistance, we will overcome economic problems and will defeat the enemy ... that has imposed a full-fledged economic war against this great nation," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated in an official document published on his website. Khamenei holds final say over all key political decisions in Iran.

The United States and other countries have subjected Tehran to increasingly harsh sanctions over suspicions that the Middle Eastern nation is pursuing a nuclear-arms capability under the guise of a peaceful nuclear program. Tehran on Tuesday joined multilateral discussions on potentially addressing the bomb fears in exchange for relief from the punitive measures.

Khamenei's latest order appeared to be a hedge against possible failure in his country's negotiations with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany, according AP. The directive calls for the Persian Gulf power to market a wider array of goods to international clients, move additional critical manufacturing activities inside its borders, increase its focus on information-based business activities, and transfer more Iranian industrial activities out of the public sector.

In addition, the order calls for greater focus on supplying other countries with processed energy materials. Iranian government officials said oil byproducts are more difficult to target via sanctions than is unrefined petroleum.

Crude oil currently provides four-fifths of the nation's income, but tightening economic penalties have slashed those funds by 50 percent over the last 24 months, according to AP.

The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday said the "red lines of the establishment must be preserved in the [nuclear] negotiations," Agence France-Presse reported.

"The objectives of the talks is to lift the pressure of sanctions ... or that government officials will lose hope in the negotiations and will instead turn their focus on domestic capacities to confront the sanctions," Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari added in a report by the Iranian Students' News Agency.

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