Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday hit out at critics of his drive for a nuclear deal with major powers, saying they belittled the impact of sanctions on ordinary people, according to AFP.
"Those who say that sanctions are not important probably don't know anything about people's wallets," Rouhani said in a televised speech, adding that they had raised the cost of imported goods by 10 to 15 percent.
The president's conservative critics have continuously claimed that the main cause of Iran's economic woes is not Western sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program but failings in government policy.
Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said earlier this month that "mismanagement and a lack of planning in the current and previous governments have had more impact than sanctions", according to AFP.
Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said only "20 to 30 percent of the economic problems" of the country were due to international sanctions.
The sanctions imposed by the West over Iran’s nuclear program severely hurt the country’s economy several years ago, as in 2013 the Iranian rial plummeted to an all-time low.
Rouhani has made the quest for a deal lifting the sanctions in return for reining in Iran's nuclear program the centerpiece of his two years in power.
Iran’s hard-liners have been speaking out against Rouhani’s efforts, calling a nuclear deal with the West a "poison chalice" for Iran.
Rouhani has fired back at his critics, calling them “political cowards” and suggesting they “go to hell”.
Iran and world powers are now working to a June 30 deadline for a comprehensive agreement after reaching a framework deal on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The sides still have to work out differences on several issues before June 30, but on Friday a diplomat told a Russian news agency the talks are “virtually stalled”.