Iran threatens retaliation over oil embargo

Iran’s supreme leader threatened on Friday to retaliate against the West for sanctions, a day after a U.S. newspaper said defense secretary Leon Panetta believed Israel was likely to bomb Iran within months to stop it building a nuclear bomb.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s defiant televised speech marking the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution was the first time the top authority has spoken publicly about the impact of the new sanctions, which have strangled the Iranian economy since the start of the year.
The long-simmering confrontation between the West and Iran over its nuclear program entered a decisive phase last month. Iran began enriching uranium at a deep underground bunker and the United States and Europe imposed new sanctions to prevent Tehran selling oil, putting its economy in a downward spiral.
Iran holds a parliamentary election in a month – its first since a 2009 presidential vote triggered a failed popular uprising – and its tightly-controlled political system will have to cope with the economic hardship caused by sanctions.
“In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats to impose at the right time,” Khamenei told worshippers in his televised speech.
“Sanctions will not have any impact on our determination to continue our nuclear course,” he said.
“Such sanctions will benefit us. They will make us more self-reliant … We would not achieve military progress if sanctions were not imposed on Iran’s military sector.”