TEHRAN, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Sanctions on the Iranian government haven't deterred the Islamic republic from progressing as a nation, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.
Shops in the historic Grand Bazaar in Tehran were shuttered in early October in an apparent show of sympathy with protesters, who said they were frustrated with the collapse of the national currency. Ahmadinejad blamed economic sanctions imposed by Western governments for the decline in the value of the rial.
Ahmadinejad last weekend, however, said economic pressure was doing little to push Iran off its "historic" path.
"The important thing is that we are today on the path of all-out progress and growth and we are moving fast to reach the stand and position that the Iranian nation deserves," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying.
Western sanctions on Iran's energy sector are meant to starve Tehran of revenue for its nuclear program, which the Iranian government maintains is for peaceful purposes.
The New York Times last week reported Iran is nearly finished installing the last of the 3,000 enrichment centrifuges at its underground Fordo facility. The newspaper's report was based on "officials familiar with the findings" from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The validity of a recent report from the Times on the prospects for direct U.S.-Iranian talks over the nuclear program was questioned.