EghtesadOnline: Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that bolstering the economy by reducing reliance on oil and promoting small- and medium-sized enterprises can help the country use sanctions to its advantage.
“Heavy reliance on oil revenues is one of the main underlying problems plaguing the economy and has hindered the country's progress in some fields,” the Leader said at a meeting with Cabinet members in Tehran to mark Government Week (Aug. 24-30), the Leader’s website reported.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the construction of more refineries can help improve the situation and called on the president, the Oil Ministry and other concerned organizations to pull their efforts and resources toward this end.
"One of the best ways to cope with enemies' pressure is to step up domestic production," added Ayatollah Khamenei, who has named the current Iranian year, which began on March 21, the year of "Boosting Production" to help shore up Iran's sanctions-hit economy without reliance on other countries, Financial Tribune reported.
He said special attention should be paid to the fields of housing, agriculture, auto manufacturing and appliances, as they can play a significant role in expanding the economy.
"Knowledge-based firms should also receive special support," he added.
Importance of SMEs
The Leader emphasized the importance of small- and medium-sized enterprises, saying that the government should provide further support to these firms based on the guidelines set in the "Resistance Economy" policy.
Resistance economy—which is promoted by the Leader—describes measures aimed at making the economy more self-sufficient and insulating it from sanctions and hostile foreign activity by supporting domestic products and weaning the economy off its dependence on oil revenues.
"If these shortcomings are addressed effectively, sanctions could be turned into opportunities," he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei noted that fear of enemies has no grounds, because they have never succeeded in slowing down the Islamic Republic's progress.
Prior to the Leader's speech, President Hassan Rouhani condemned the US administration's "economic terrorism" against Iran, saying that ordinary people are taking the brunt of sanctions.
Rouhani also pointed to Iran's decision to reduce its compliance with the nuclear deal in response to the US exit and said Tehran cannot wait forever for the remaining signatories to uphold their end of the bargain.
He said Iran will continue to scale back its commitments under the deal, if the ongoing talks fail to find a practical way to safeguard the country's interests.
The president also warned about the consequences of US attempts to bring down the sale of Iran's oil exports to zero.
"World powers know that if oil is completely sanctioned and Iran's oil exports are reduced to zero, international waterways cannot have the same security as before," Rouhani said. "So, unilateral pressure against Iran cannot benefit them and won't guarantee their security in the region and the world."