How have sanctions affected Iran? Ayatollah Khamenei explains – Arrogant powers usually impose economic sanctions on independent nations in order to make them give up on their path to progress, surrender and eventually give in to the collapse of the governments ruling over those nations. This is while everything is subject to independent nations’ outlook and approach towards sanctions and how they perceive them. has made a collection of Imam Khamenei’s commentaries regarding sanctions.

Sanctions have helped us to open our eyes upon our own resources

The enemy is busy showing enmity. He adopts various measures. However, by Allah’s favor and grace, the people of Iran and the officials of the country have become seasoned in this matter.

They have imposed sanctions on us. Sanctions surely create some problems for the country. There is no doubt about this, but sanctions have helped us to open our eyes upon our own resources. We had many capacities, but we were not aware of them. We used to ignore them, but when they imposed sanctions on us, we collected ourselves. We looked around and we found the existing domestic capacities and we benefitted from them.

Today, despite the wishes and desires of the enemy, we are strong. We are strong in terms of politics, military and security. Today, the Islamic Republic is much stronger and much more powerful than the first years after the Revolution, despite all these sanctions and all this enmity. This means that we have used the plots that the enemy hatched against us in our advantage and in the advantage of the country.

The enemy’s explicit enmities made us resistant. And this resistance is not only relevant to explicit enmities. Some people show their enmities openly such as the people who have the power in the US and in other places in the present time. But the enmities of some others are in the form of wearing velvet gloves over an iron fist. I have spoken about this before. This is enmity as well.

Against these enmities, we have become more resistant by Allah’s favor, grace and guidance. Our self-confidence has been boosted. Today, we are much stronger than the first years. We know the ways to confront the enemy as well. Today, by Allah’s favor, the people of Iran have learnt the ways to confront the enemy’s plots. Officials know this too. They know how to confront the enemy and they are doing so. We have more resources as well and we are not afraid of the enemy and his plots in any way.

August 3, 2017

Sanctions activated the massive domestic capacities of the Iranian nation

As I said, their efforts were not completely inconsequential. Yes, their efforts were not inconsequential, but as we expected, there were great positive effects as well. The sanctions caused the massive domestic capacities of the Iranian nation to become activated. The sanctions motivated us to start doing great things. Our youth made certain achievements that would have been impossible in the absence of the sanctions. In the area of infrastructure, in terms of the achievements that were made last year, the year 1391 (2012) stands out among the previous years. A massive amount of work was done in the area of infrastructure, in the area of building roads, in the area of energy, in the area of discovering new oil reserves, in the area of discovering new sources of uranium, in the area of building and developing power plants and refineries, and in tens of other great industrial areas. All of these measures will help develop the economic infrastructure of the country in the future. If we had built this infrastructure earlier, the sanctions that were imposed by the enemies would have failed to produce the few negative effects that they did. We adopted these measures and we managed to move forward in the positive direction despite the enmities and the sanctions. Great achievements were made.

March 21, 2013

We made great achievements while under sanctions

We are on the verge of the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Revolution. Forty years is not a long time. For the history of a nation, 40 years is not long rather it is short. During these 40 years, our people made many endeavors: they walked on ridged rocks. Since the first year – almost since the first day – we were under sanctions. These sanctions have been pursued and persistent in different ways, and they have increased in number as well. Everything that has happened – all of Iran’s achievements – have emerged during a time of sanctions. We were under sanctions, and we made such great achievements: this reveals the capability of the Revolution and the Iranian nation.

February 18, 2018

The world of Islam should try to help its youth move forward in the area of science because this is possible.

We have done this here. We have improved our scientific ranking to a great extent. We have done all these things during the time of sanctions. It has been many years now that we have been under sanctions by transgressing powers. Sanctions helped us to blossom, to think of ourselves, and to benefit from our own resources. Today we are on the borders of scientific breakthroughs in important fields, while in the past, we were behind to a great extent. In medical sciences, in nanotechnology, in stem cell, in nuclear science and in many other scientific fields our youth have managed to blossom: to work and to achieve great feats. In the present time, educated and scientific young adults are greater, in number, compared to many other countries around planet. Therefore, this is possible. One of the tasks that should definitely be pursued in Islamic countries is the issue of scientific progress. We should help one another in this area as well. Some other Islamic countries, too, have fortunately accomplished great achievements in this aspect.


We have become powerful despite American hostility. This is very important. It is a very important thing for nations to see that without being in the shadow of powers, a nation can grow and move forward. One can grow, move forward and stand on one’s own feet despite hostility shown by powers. We have shown this in practice. This makes them angry as well. The people of Iran became role models for other countries and nations so that they can show that it is possible to stand up against superpowers, to show fearlessness in the face of them and to move forward.

You know that these military achievements, missiles and the other things which they are upset about have all been achieved during the time of sanctions. We were under their sanctions, sanctions in every area! And what has happened in this period of time has surprised them and made them unhappy.

A few years ago, a report was delivered to me about an Israeli general. He had stated in an article – at that time, we had just tested a missile- the article was about one of the missiles which was tested a few years ago – that he was surprised to see Iran carry out such a task. Well, he was an expert. He understood these things. They see these things via satellite and the like and they can make correct evaluations. In that article, he mentioned, “I am an enemy of Iran, but I admire it because of accomplishing this task despite the heavy sanctions that have been imposed on it.” This was the gist of what he had stated. So, the enemy sees these things.

October 18, 2017

We managed to progress in many areas despite sanctions

Well, someone may say, if sanctions did not exist, you could utilize these capacities in the right way. But you cannot utilize them because of sanctions. This is wrong. This is an inaccurate statement. Despite sanctions, we have managed to make outstanding and lofty achievements in many areas. One example is production of knowledge. Another example is our achievements in the area of industry and technology.

We were and still are under sanctions in these areas. In the present time too, the doors of important and up-to-date scientific centers – which work on advanced and modern sciences – are closed to Iranian scientists and students. But we have managed to make progress in the nuclear area and in the area of nanotechnology, stem cells, defense industries, airplanes and missiles- to the despair of the enemy. Why should we not be able to make progress in the area of economy?

We – who have made so many achievements on these scenes and in different arenas can make the economy blossom if we show determination and join hands. We should not pin our hopes on the enemy to see when he lifts sanctions and when he agrees to something. To hell with the enemy! We should see what we ourselves can do.

March 21, 2014

There is an important point here: this Revolution did not come into being with a coup. It did not come into being with a military move like some revolutions wherein military officers took a government and replaced it with another one: this was not the case with our Revolution. This Revolution came into being through the people. It came into being with the people’s determination, revolutionary power, and faith. And it defended itself, survived, and grew roots with equal power. It was the people who did not show fear. It was the dear people of Iran who showed resistance and embodied this holy ayah: “Those to whom the people said, ‘Surely men have gathered against you, therefore fear them.’ But this increased their faith, and they said, ‘Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent is the Protector’” [The Holy Quran, 3: 173].

We used to be threatened all the time: they [the oppressors] were relentlessly stating that they would attack and impose sanctions on us. Nevertheless, the people did not show fear in the face of threats nor did they become intimidated and crippled by sanctions. They continued the movement in a fearless, courageous, and dignified manner. This [reaction of the people] should be used as an example from now on.

June 3, 2016

The reason why I constantly speak about and stress on the issue of the Economy of Resistance– well, the friends in the administration have established a command center and certain things are being done whose results we hope to see on the ground, God willing – is this. If we become strong and powerful in the economy, then imposing sanctions will become meaningless and absurd. If we can achieve a powerful economy inside the country, they themselves will come begging to us. They will come and pursue establishing economic relations. Not only will they not impose sanctions, but they will also come and ask us not to impose sanctions on them – if we have the intention of doing so. This is natural. The same is true of the area of politics. The same is true of different other areas.

May 26, 2016

Prudent management is the way to confront sanctions

Sanctions are the only tool left for the enemy. They should know this. The only tool that the enemy uses to confront the people of Iran is imposing sanctions. If we act properly and wisely, sanctions can be counteracted. As I said, establishing production and industrial companies – fortunately today, governmental organizations are establishing these companies – is a task that can counteract sanctions. An example is the Phase 12 of South Pars – which I referred to earlier – military achievements, science and technology parks and other such tasks. This can minimize and then completely counter the effect of sanctions.

Sanctions have been the most difficult problem but they have also brought about certain blessings for us. Sanctions showed us that we should rely on ourselves. They proved to us that we can benefit from our domestic forces. If executive officials, all the people and economic activists in particular show diligence and work hard and if national media offer their assistance – I will address this issue later on – we will see that sanctions will not be able to prevent the people of Iran from making progress.

March 21, 2015

Sanctions perish in any area where we gain a capability

The honorable manager – Mr. Aliabadi – raised a point in his speech which I agree with and which I have always paid attention to. He said that sanctions are lifted in any area where we gain a capability. He is right. Sanctions are imposed whenever your hands are tied. If you can show dynamism and progress in any area, the other side feels that imposing sanctions is wrong, absurd and foolish.

A clear example of this is the twenty-percent enriched uranium that we seriously needed for Tehran research reactor. The country was running out of its supplies. If we had not been able to provide the twenty-percent enriched uranium, this research reactor would have been closed and the people would not have had access to the radiopharmaceuticals that they needed and that were being produced in the country. Therefore, officials tried to provide the twenty-percent enriched uranium.

The story of the game that global powers – headed by America and some other powers – played on the issue of the twenty-percent enriched uranium is a long, sweet and interesting story. It is interesting to know what they did. We were ready to buy it, but they used all kinds of tricks to create obstacles. Finally, the Islamic Republic came to the conclusion that it should produce the twenty-percent enriched uranium on its own. However, they did not believe that this would happen. They did not believe that after producing it, it would be possible for us to produce fuel out of it. That is to say, they did not believe that we could produce fuel rods and fuel plates. But like you, the youth of the Islamic Republic and the young scientists of the country managed to carry out this task with their intelligence, innovation and good management.

Now that the entire world knows the Islamic Republic has achieved this technology and product and is able to use it, they say that we should buy it from them. Different countries ask us to buy it from them. They say, “We are prepared to sell it to you. So, do not produce it on your own”. Global pressures and the wrong behavior of small and big powers towards the Islamic Republic and towards any independent system correlate with their weakness and their power. In any area you show weakness, they behave in a worse way. In any area you show strength and manage to stand on your own feet, they will have to behave towards you in a more polite and reasonable way.

This is the key to solving all the problems of the country. The country should blossom from the inside. You should manufacture your products on your own and you should build your economy and your future from the inside. And the people of Iran are a talented people and they can do this. Our human resources are infinite and our natural resources are thankfully many.

April 30, 2014

If sanctions worked, why would the enemy need to threaten us with military war?

Another reality is that they are frustrated with confronting the people of Iran and the Islamic government. If you want to know why they are frustrated, the reason is they cannot confront us. They have imposed sanctions on us. If they had been able to confront us, why would they have imposed sanctions?

The fact that they constantly issue military threats is a proof that sanctions were not, are not and will not be efficient. Well, if they had been able to destroy this Revolution and bring our people to their knees with ordinary and common methods in the world, they would not have needed to issue so many threats and exert so many pressures and other such things. Sanctions are not new and they have imposed them in the past as well.

Fortunately today, the agreement that the honorable executive officials, including the President and ministers in charge of such affairs, and the heads of the other two branches reached shows that sanctions – which the enemies have imposed on the people of Iran in an oppressive way and out of grudge, enmity and hatred – will not have any effect at all. Our officials should be thanked because they really welcomed this idea. Of course, they themselves took a leading part in making decisions about this in the Expediency Council and they held certain discussions about this issue. By Allah’s favor, the economy of resistance will overcome their plots. This is another reality.

March 6, 2014

All global powers and arrogant governments have joined hands to impose sanctions on the Iranian people and exhaust them with these sanctions. They themselves say that they wanted to make the Iranian people stand up against the Islamic Republic, thereby forcing the officials of the Islamic Republic to revise their calculations. Now they openly say this. In the beginning – we were analyzing their moves – they did not use to say this openly, but now they do. But the result is that the God-given dignity and the orientation of the Iranian people towards the principles of Islam and the Revolution and towards resistance are developing on a daily basis. This is exactly the opposite of what the enemies want.

January 9, 2013

The Americans should know and I think they know that sanctions do not work. The reason why we say they themselves know that sanctions do not work is the military threats they issue. Well, if sanctions can serve the purpose, then why do they issue military threats? This shows that sanctions have not served the purpose and that they do not work. They have to issue military sanctions. Of course, the act of issuing military threats is a very disgusting and despicable act. Instead of issuing military threats against different countries, you Americans should go and improve your own devastated economy. You should do something so that your government will not be shut down for 15, 16 days. You should go and pay your debts. You should think of improving your own economy.

November 20, 2013

If sanctions affect particular areas, it’s due to our own shortcoming

Of course, as I said a few months ago, the Americans expressed joy and said that I have confessed to the effect of the sanctions. Yes, the sanctions have not been inconsequential. If they are happy about this, let them be happy. After all, the sanctions have had an effect, which is because of an essential flaw that we are suffering from. The flaw that our economy is suffering from is that it is dependent on oil. We need to distance our economy from oil. Our governments should include this among their basic plans. Seventeen, eighteen years ago, I told the government of that time and its officials that they should act in a way that we could shut down our oil wells whenever we wanted to. The so-called “technocrats” smiled in disbelief, as if to say, “Is that even possible?” Yes, it is possible. It is necessary to follow up the issue, take action and make plans. When economic plans of a country are built on a particular base, the enemies of that country will target that base. Yes, the sanctions have had an effect, but not the effect that the enemies wanted. I will explain this issue later on. This is all I wanted to say about the issue of economy.

March 21, 2013