TEHRAN, IRAN— The ultra conservative prayer leader of Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, is proud that Iran is subject to sanctions by the West.
The European Union has imposed sanctions against 80 individuals connected with the Islamic Republic. The fresh rounds of sanctions were in response to the new wave of human rights abuses in the hands of the Iranian government.
According to Ayatollah Khatami, being placed on the sanction list is a source of inspiration for many Iranian clerics.
“The EU has placed the names of 80 Iranian figures including me [on] the list of sanctions… I am proud of being hated by the arrogant powers,” Khatami told his worshipers.
He further added, “After my sermons, they call me an extremist Iranian cleric. If extremism means moving in the path of Islam and velayat-e faqih (rule by the supreme jurisprudent), I am proud of that.”
The conservative cleric and a close ally of the Iran’s Supreme Leader reminded the crowds: “If I deliver a sermon and the media outlets of the arrogant powers don’t attack me, I am not satisfied.”
According to Khatami, he has repeatedly refused to meet with the British Ambassador in Iran, adding “Each time I rejected (his request)… it was a slap in his face because he sought to entice me. But the global arrogance (forces of imperialism) should know that the children of Islam and Imam Khomeini are incorruptible, and also will not be frightened by making threats.”
Meanwhile, the sanctions against Iran are taking their toll on the ordinary Iranians who battle high cost of living and escalating prices.
The Iranian labor activists report that working conditions at many of Iran’s factories are poor and workers must frequently cope with unpaid wages.
During a recent public appearance, Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was confronted by a group of factory workers carrying a banner that read: We are hungry.