TEHRAN, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Minister of Industry, Mines and Commerce, Mehdi Ghazanfari said that Western sanctions against the Islamic republic aim to paralyze the country's economy, Press TV reported Friday.
"The aim of (anti-Iran) sanctions is to paralyze our economy and to put people under pressure and in distress," Ghazanfari was quoted as saying on Thursday.
Iran is under unilateral Western sanction pressure on its crude oil and natural gas exports. The West has accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear program, a charge Tehran has consistently denied.
The ultimate target of these sanctions is the entire economy, Ghazanfari stressed, adding that enemies of the Islamic republic seek to damage Iran's economy as well as the country's economic growth.
The reason behind the imposition of sanctions on Iran is not the country's nuclear program or the human rights issue but Iran's refusal to obey orders of the enemies, he maintained.
The Iranian minister said that Iran has been hit by sanctions under false pretexts, adding, Iran has repeatedly presented documents rejecting the claims but the enemies maintain their policies because the Islamic republic opposes their domination in the world.
On Monday, local media, quoting Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi, reported that due to the Western sanctions, Iran's oil sales had dropped by 40 percent in the past nine months.
However, some Iranian officials had consistently denied that the Western sanctions had any impact on the country's oil sales or revenues.
Iran for decades has been a large oil provider to the global energy market. Oil exports provide over 70 percent of the Iranian government's revenues. However, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the country's oil exports declined from 2.5 million barrels per day in December 2011 to about 1.25 million barrels per day as of December 2012.