However, Tehran combines realism with combative tone

As the European Union’s ban on Iranian oil imports kicked in, the Iranian leadership has responded defiantly saying it is not ready to compromise its independence at any cost.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi urged “national unity, resistance and patience” in the face of the sanctions imposed in coordination with the U.S. Mr. Salehi said “independence has a price which everyone has to pay”.

Combining realism with defiance, Iran’s Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi acknowledged that Iran was now “facing the highest [degree] of sanctions”. He exhorted “people to help officials in this battle”. He added that Iran had stockpiled sufficient quantities of essential commodities to minimise the impact of the oil and banking sectors on the people.

The Iranian daily Tehran Times quoted Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani as saying Iran had $150 billion of foreign exchange reserves, which could be channelised to foot the import bill. Mr. Bahmani explained that Iran continued to export significant quantities despite the mounting sanctions because many of its leading buyers had managed to receive waivers from the U.S. China, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan received the waivers because they had “significantly” reduced oil imports from Iran.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the sanctions would prove counterproductive as it would compromise global energy security and deepen the economic crisis. “They [the U.S. and the EU] should be held accountable for their irresponsible measures which will aggravate the economic crisis in the world, since [energy] security is an indispensable part of the global energy market.”

Mr. Mehmanparast warned that western nations would suffer greater social unrest as a result of these flawed policies. He said the decision to tighten economic curbs would have a negative impact on the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the six global powers.

He said Iran was determined to restore its “nuclear rights”, and would stick to its motto of “nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapon for none”.

The combative tone seemed to acquire a shriller edge with the testing of an array of missiles by the Islamic revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) during a fresh military exercise that commenced on Monday. The three day manoeuvres are conducted in the deserts of the central province of Semnan.

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