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Iranian Leaders Greet New Year With Economic Pledges, Anti-Western Remarks

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives a Norouz address to the nation.
Iranian leaders have celebrated the arrival of the Persian New Year with speeches condemning the West and pledges to boost Iran's struggling economy.

The celebrations in Iran on March 19 also included a cannon blast from one of the country's domestically produced "Jamaran" naval destroyers.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran will not surrender to the latest round of Western sanctions against the Islamic republic over its nuclear program, and would not halt uranium enrichment, a process the West suspects could be directed toward development of a nuclear bomb.

Iran denies trying to make an atomic weapon.

The supreme leader also said more support for domestic industrial production could help Iran counter the latest Western sanctions, which seek to hamper Iran's banking sector and oil-export economy in an attempt to convince the Persian Gulf state to halt uranium enrichment.

With AFP and dpa reporting