TEHRAN, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed Friday to retaliate against oil sanctions and threats of war against Iran's nuclear program.
In a speech aired live across Iran, Khamenei said any attack on Iran's nuclear enrichment sites by Israel "would be 10 times worse for the interests of the United States" than it would be for Iran, The New York Times reported.
Khamenei also said Iran would support militant groups opposing Israel. He said Iran "had its own tools" to respond to threats of war and would use them "if necessary," the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
Iranian news agencies said Khamenei called financial sanctions against the country "painful and crippling," acknowledging efforts to cut Iran's central bank off from the international financial system, but said the sanctions would make Iran more self-reliant.
U.S. and European officials have urged Israel to remain patient, warning that an attack by Israel would only make Iran more determined to acquire nuclear weapons, the newspaper said.