WASHINGTON, (AFP) — Iran is stronger after a host of international sanctions, the country’s finance minister Shamseddin Hosseini asserted in Washington.
“After these sanctions we are a much stronger country,” said Hosseini, striking a resolute tone amid international curbs on trade with Islamic Republic and sanctions against firms and individuals linked to the country’s controversial nuclear program.
He acknowledged that the sanctions “cause some kind of problem for us.” But he said, “When people solve problems, they get stronger. Today, we are much stronger,” he said.
Hosseini was speaking in the US capital on the fringes of a meeting of the International Monetary Fund’s 187 members.
His visit comes just over a week after President Barack Obama ordered sanctions against eight senior Iranian officials for alleged human rights abuses during the crackdown against those protesting the 2009 elections.
Regardless, Hosseini claimed there was no difficulty in trading or securing hard currency to trade with.
“The world is big and the people who are trading (with us) find ways to transfer money.”
Questioned about how Iran finds dollars on open markets, he responded: “There is no substantive obstacle regarding that.”
Yet despite Hosseini’s claims, evidence in Iran suggests sanctions are taking a toll.
Most banks in the United Arab Emirates, Iran’s main trading partner, have stopped money transfers there since August after similar decisions by the United States and the European Union over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iranian banks have gradually refused to sell individuals hard currency in recent weeks without explanation or any government announcement.