Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
In this clip from a speech delivered to senior Iranian regime officials in June 2016, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei muses aloud on the possible spending priorities for the billions of dollars previously frozen under US sanctions which were later released to Iran’s regime under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran’s regime and the P5+1 group of states. Khamenei suggests that whilst upgrading the country’s air fleet is a priority, it may not be the main one. It should be noted that the released funds were subsequently almost immediately spent on the regime’s wars across the region and on helping to prop up the Assad regime, while Iran’s domestic economy continues to spiral downwards.
In the speech, Khamenei says, “Another subject is the issue of priorities. Sometimes there’s one very important and essential thing, but it needs to be prioritized. Here, we have to look at what the priority is. Now, suppose that our money was released [the Iranian funds abroad frozen previously under sanctions], which of course has not been released. And it’s not known when our money will be released, but it will arrive. But now, suppose our money’s released by foreign banks in the future – what should this money be spent on? This is very important and we must pursue the priorities. Well, I’ll give you an example and I think I’ve shared this example with the respected minister [minister of the economy]. Suppose our air force fleet is to be upgraded – well, it’s very important to work, but it’s not needed. But is it the priority? Is it the country’s priority? Suppose you purchase three hundred planes. It’s unclear if this is considered a priority and it should be analyzed.”