Sanctions on Iran oil are ridiculous, says Ahmadinejad

The Iran president also takes a swipe at Mitt Romney's visit to Israel, labelling his trip as "kissing the foot" to boost his bid for the White House.

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TEHRAN // President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the West's sanctions on Iran's oil sector are "ridiculous".

Mr Ahmadinejad told a group of oil officials that only "politically retarded" governments would use badly needed oil as a tool of "political warfare" in opposition to Iran's nuclear programme.

His speech was broadcast on state TV today.

Mr Ahmadinejad's remarks came after the US pressed ahead last night with a new package of sanctions on Iran, expanding financial penalties and targeting Tehran's energy and shipping sectors in the hope that economic pressure will undercut the country's suspected nuclear weapons programme. Iran denies it seeks atomic weapons.

Iran relies on oil for some 80 per cent of its foreign revenue.

Mr Ahmadinejad also called a visit to Israel by US presidential candidate Mitt Romney as "kissing the foot" to boost his bid for the White House.

Mr Ahmadinejad did not specifically name Mr Romney, but his comments were an unmistakable jab at the Republican contender's stop this week in Israel. Mr Ahmadinejad questioned why Mr Romney would make "concessions to get some pennies for [his] campaign?"