Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif greets Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu while Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani looks on, Doha Forum, Qatar, December 15, 2018

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has admitted that US sanctions are having an effect, hurting “ordinary Iranians”, while insisting that they will not change Iran’s policies.

Zarif wrapped up his stay at the Doha Forum, including a speech hailing Iran’s “art of evading sanctions”, with a message that momentarily shifted tone to acceptance of sanctions’ impact. At the same time, he criticized the US for its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, and posted words and images to argue for Iranian partnership with Europe, Turkey, and Arab countries.

The Trump Administration imposed comprehensive sanctions on November 5, including on Iran’s energy and financial sectors. The measures added to Iran’s long-term structural problems with production, trade, investment, and employment.

Oil exports have fallen 60% between April and November, putting strain on the Government’s proposed budget for 2019-20, although US sanction waivers through March on Iran’s top oil customers have buffered a sharper fall.

The Foreign Minister had told the Doha audience on Saturday, complementing his later Twitter statement:

It’s obviously the case that we are facing economic pressure because of the US sanctions. [The] US is a major global power and it can actually create painful conditions for other countries. But would that lead to a change of policy? I can assure you that it won’t.

Iran’s Defense Minister, Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami, had a different suggestion for coping with the sanctions. He said Sunday that the regime needed to tell the “next generation…how we were able to cross the heights: the defense thoughts of Supreme Leader will undoubtedly be a source of glory”.

Hatami did not refer to the specifics of the economic situation, maintaining, “Iran’s support of the legitimate governments of the regions has led to the failure of the conspiracies of the enemies and the creation of resistance.”