A handout picture released by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on March 21, 2014 shows him addressing thousands of Iranian in the northeast holy city of Mashhad as they celebrate Noruz, the Persian New Year. AFP PHOTO
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Iran's supreme leader on Friday sounded a battle cry for self-reliance in the face of international sanctions, saying Iranians should not pin their hopes on a nuclear deal with world powers.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's most powerful authority, has lent his support to nuclear talks that have brought limited sanctions relief, but harbours a deep mistrust of the West, believing it is bent on destroying the Islamic republic.Hopes for an economic recovery have been rekindled since Rouhani took office in August, vowing to repair relations with the world and find a lasting solution to the decade-long nuclear standoff.In his own address Thursday, Rouhani said he had tackled inflation and restored calm to currency markets, thanks to an interim deal struck in November under which Iran curbed or froze some nuclear activities in exchange for a modest easing of sanctions.The so-called P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- hopes to reach a final accord with Iran by July 20 which would lift all sanctions in exchange for Iran scaling back its programme to the point where it would be difficult if not impossible to develop nuclear weapons.
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