"There is no doubt that sanctions are a crime, a blow from the US to Iran," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a televised speech on the occasion of Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.
"But the smart Iranian has made the best use of this attack, this animosity and benefited... by using sanctions as a means to increase national self-reliance."
He said Western "think tanks admit that the maximum pressure of sanctions and US force has not succeeded."
Tensions between Iran and the US have been rising since 2018, when Trump withdrew the United States from a landmark nuclear accord and unilaterally reimposed tough sanctions. The 2015 deal between Tehran and major powers promised relief from sanctions in return for limits on Iran's nuclear program.
"Unfortunately, some people, under the influence of the enemy, say what good nuclear power has for us. Nuclear power is the definite need for our country in the future. We need at least 20,000 or 30,000 megawatts of nuclear power, which we cannot get through another means or it is not cost-effective.”
“What should we do on the day we needed it? Whose door should we knock? Should we beg from America and Europe to give us electricity or do enrichment for us? Will they do that? We have to think about tomorrow. These are not the needs that will be ready in a few months or two years. It must be prepared in advance and we have prepared the ground for this," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
He noted that the principle part of the nuclear industry has been maintained despite numerous damage Iran incurred because of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
After abandoning the agreement, the United States reinstated sanctions on Iran's oil exports and its access to the international banking system, and pressured allies and rivals alike to fall in line.
Iran has responded by trying to boost its non-oil exports, particularly to neighboring countries.
"This has caused the country's economy to be naturally less reliant on oil," Ayatollah Khamenei said, casting the development in a positive light.
The Leader said surrendering to the enemy is not the way to lift the sanctions. “The only cure for sanctions is rather relying on domestic capabilities.”
“Some argue and propagate the idea that if you want to stop the US from bullying, you need to back off. No sir! A person who is accustomed to aggression will come forward if you back off. This is a clear and natural issue. If you accept the US demands, they will raise new demands,” he noted.
No talks with US
The Leader rejected the idea of opening new talks with the United States, saying he would not agree to meetings that were aimed only at boosting reelection hopes of Trump whom the Ayatollah Khamenei called an “old man”.
"This old man in charge, he apparently made some propaganda use out of his negotiations with North Korea. Now he wants to use (talks with Iran) for the (November 3 US presidential) election."
The Leader pointed to the US call for negotiations with Iran, and said, “Those who call for talks with Iran seek to negotiate over these issues. Everyone must pay attention; I have said this for several times, and I have to repeat it, because some either fail to understand or pretend they can’t understand.”
“If the enemy talks of negotiations, it means ‘come to the negotiating table and don’t develop missiles’. If you give in to their demands … you’d make yourself defenseless; and if you don’t, you’d have to face the same story: Disputes, threats and sanctions again. This is what negotiation means.”
He said the reason for his opposition to negotiation with America is that “such negotiations have no use; of course they benefit from it [but Iran doesn’t].”
Ayatollah Khamenei stressed, the US ruling system seeks to achieve broader “vital” objectives beyond what the incumbent president seeks to gain from talks with Iran.
“They say you should abandon your defensive equipment, your regional power and national might. No man of honor interested in maintaining the country’s interests would give in to such demands. This is why I’m opposed to negotiation; moreover, we are in talks with the entire world, except for the US and the fake Zionist regime, and there’s no problem with that,” he added.
Goals of sanctions
Ayatollah Khamenei said the enemies of the Islamic Republic seek to achieve short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals by imposing sanctions against the Iranian nation.
In the short-term, they seek to impose so much pressure that the nation gets weary, exhausted, and disturbed, so much so that they stand against the establishment, he said.
“You know that last year they said and this year they say there will be a hot summer – meaning the people should come and stand against the establishment, but they themselves got the hot summer,” the Leader said, apparently referring to anti-racism rallies which have been going on in the US for two months now.
Their mid-term goal, he said, is to prevent the country’s development through sanctions. "They mainly seek to prevent the country’s scientific development,” he said, citing the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists as an example of the enemy’s efforts to hinder the country’s scientific progress.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the enemy’s long-term goal is to lead the country and the government into bankruptcy.
“One of the other goals they pursue is to dismantle the country’s economy; if a country’s economy collapses, it is not possible to live in that country anymore.”
The enemies also seek to achieve a collateral goal, which is to cut the Islamic Republic’s ties with the resistance forces in the region, Ayatollah Khamenei noted. “That’s because they know the Islamic Republic will keep helping them as much as it can.”
“We have a strategic depth in the region, based on which many nations and governments are our supporters and interested in Iran, ready to strive in the service of our goals. The enemies say you 'should give this up', but even if we do that, they will not stop there.
"When you are willing to reduce your ability to defend yourself and destroy your authority in the region; when you are willing to totally abandon your nuclear industry which is vital to the country, the enemy will not be satisfied yet and will demand something new," the Leader said.
However, the Leader added, these dreams will never come true and as a Persian proverb says, “A camel dreams of cotton seed.”
Press TV and AFP contributed to this story.