Ahmadinejad: Iran can withstand oil embargo 'for years'
President of Islamic Republic says country could manage two to three years without selling oil; nuclear talks with West scheduled to begin next week.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran has enough funds to withstand a total embargo on its oil sales for several years, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.
"[Western powers] want to impose sanctions on our oil and we must say to them that we have that much saved that even if we didn't sell oil for two to three years, the country would manage easily," Ahmadinejad said during a visit to Hormuzgan province.
On Monday, the U.S. said that time is not infinite for nuclear talks between Iran and the West - five days before a planned round of talks was set to begin. The White House added that the window of opportunity in which a diplomatic solution can be reached is closing.
Iran's nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi told state TV late Sunday that Tehran could stop its production of 20 percent enriched uranium needed for a research reactor, and continue enriching uranium to lower levels for power generation.
This could take place once Iran has stockpiled enough of the 20 percent enriched uranium, Abbasi said.
Late last week, the Washington Post reported that Obama recently passed a message to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei which signaled that the United States would agree to an Iranian civilian nuclear program if they proved they were not developing a nuclear bomb.