Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has issued an ultimatum to the United States demanding the lifting of harsh economic sanctions.

In a publicly broadcast speech on Sunday, Khamenei said Iran does not insist on and is in no rush for the US to re-sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which established limits on Tehran’s nuclear enrichment. Instead, Khamenei demanded the alleviation of sanctions placed on the country.

“Sanctions are a treachery and crime against the Iranian nation and must be lifted,” he said.

“But we must also plan our economy in a way that we could run the country well despite sanctions”, he said, reiterating the previous comments made by Khamenei that Iran must attempt to nullify sanctions as well as see them lifted.

Khamenei expressed his support for legislation that pressed Iran to increase its uranium enrichment to 20 percent. This move began on 4 January and drew criticism from the 6 countries in the European Union who are signatories to the nuclear deal.

“When the other side implements almost none of its commitments as part of the JCPOA, it would be meaningless for the Islamic Republic to implement all its commitments under the JCPOA”, he added. “If they return to their commitments, we will too.”

Further sanctions were put in place last week week targeting Iran’s steel industry.