TEHRAN (AFP) – Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi has said Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards back sanctions against Tehran as they make “astronomical profits” from the punitive measures, a website said on Sunday.
“I believe that part of the Iranian rule as well as the Revolutionary Guards are in favour of sanctions as they make gigantic and astronomical profits from them,” Karroubi was quoted as saying on opposition website Rahesabz.net.
The Guards regularly shrug off international sanctions imposed on Iran for its defiant nuclear programme, with some top commanders expressing willingness to take on projects abandoned by Western companies, including in the energy sector.
Karroubi, who steadfastly opposes the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, again blamed the hardliner for the latest sets of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, the European Union and the United States.
“Imprudence in (Iran’s) foreign policy and the lack of political sanity in the actions and political and diplomatic words of the man in charge of the government have imposed high costs on the country,” the reformist cleric said in a direct attack on Ahmadinejad.
“We should not give an excuse through shallow words and bungling actions and allow others to easily impose sanctions against Iran,” the website quoted Karroubi as saying on Saturday at a meeting with families of detained opposition members.
Iran is under four sets of UN sanctions for its sustained pursuance of the nuclear programme, all of which have been imposed since Ahmadinejad first became president in 2005.
Western governments suspect Iran’s nuclear programme is a cover for a weapons drive, something Tehran has repeatedly denied, maintaining it is aimed solely at power generation and medical research.
Karroubi, along with Iran’s other main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, continue to level accusations that Ahmadinejad’s re-election last year was the result of a massive vote rigging.