MASHHAD, March 20 (MNA) - Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that Iran will respond to any military attack by the U.S. or the Zionist regime with the “same level” of power.
“We do not have nuclear weapons, and we do not intend to produce them. But in the face of aggression, either by the U.S. or the Zionist regime, we will attack them at the same level that they attack us,” the Leader told tens of thousands of people at the mausoleum of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad on the first day of the new Iranian calendar year.
Ayatollah Khamenei said that the Western powers’ extreme pressure on the Islamic Republic is not due to Tehran’s nuclear program, but rather it is because Iran is “standing against them like a lion.”
The Leader added that the arrogant powers have “acknowledged” that Iran is not seeking to produce nuclear weapons, but all the sanctions are mainly meant to bring Iran, as a unique country in terms of oil and gas riches, under their control.
“If Iran was ready to surrender to them like certain countries in the region, they would not have any hostility toward Iran,” he noted.
It is only Iran that has the fourth largest oil reserves and the second largest gas reserves in the world and the West wants such a country to be easily at its control and Iran’s nuclear program is just a pretext, the Leader explained.
Ayatollah Khamenei went on to say that oil riches in many countries will be exhausted in the near future and the capitalist world is very worried about this, and therefore it has intensified pressure on Iran under the illusion that Iran, with such abundant energy resources, will fall in their arms.
He stated that Western governments are also keeping their people in dark about the “catastrophe” that is awaiting them in regard to energy depletion.
He added that the United States and other Western powers are mistaken if they imagine that they can force Iran to submit to their pressure and called on them to treat Iranian people “respectfully.”
Iranian experts see sanctions as opportunity
Elsewhere in his speech, the Leader commented on his visit to an exhibition displaying the latest achievements of Iran’s oil industry in Tehran on March 12, saying the oil industry experts have “high self-confidence” and see sanctions as an “opportunity”.
Iran’s technological progress greater than announced
The Leader went on to say that despite harsh sanctions, Iran has made great technological and scientific progress and this has been acknowledged by reliable international centers and they have described that the pace of scientific advancement in Iran as the “fastest” in the world.
Ayatollah Khamenei added, “The degree of the country’s progress is much higher than what has been announced to the public so far.”
Success in producing fuel plates ‘surprised enemies’
The Leader also stated that the Western powers have admitted that while they have inflicted “crippling sanctions” on Iran, the country has been making unprecedented technological progress.
For example, he said, Iran’s success in enriching uranium to 20 percent and turning it into fuel plates to operate the Tehran research reactor “surprised the enemies.”
In another part of his speech, the Leader praised the achievements made in the country in Iranian calendar year of 1390, which ended on March 19.
Ayatollah Khamenei said that the implementation of the subsidy reform plan was an important step when the country was under tough sanctions.
The reform plan was a “necessity” and this came true through the efforts of the government and the Majlis and led to “fair distribution of subsidies” which positively affected the lives of the poor, the Leader explained.
He added that the subsidy reform plan put a brake on the extravagant consumption of gasoline to the extent that if the subsidy reform had not been introduced, the gasoline consumption would have increased by two times in comparison to the current level of consumption.