**RESTRICTIONS: NO Access Israel Media/Persian Language TV Stations Outside Iran/Strictly No Access BBC Persian/VOA Persian/Manoto-1 TV/Iran International**

In a call to boost the production and to alleviate the consequences of imposed sanctions, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared the next year to be the year of the 'production leap', in his speech to the Iranian nation on Friday, the day that marks the Persian New Year.

"Last year's slogan was 'Boosting Production'. This year, I would like to say that we need a leap in production, as the slogan of the year. This year is the year of production leap," said Khamenei.

Khamenei considered that, in spite of causing "some harm," the imposed sanctions "have had some benefits, like to force us to think about our capabilities," he said.

"If we manage to boost production, then economic problems will certainly be terminated and these imposed sanctions on us will be in our interests," added Khamenei.

The Iranian New Year, Nowruz, has been celebrated by diverse communities for over 3,000 years, and falls on March 20th this year and marks the beginning of the spring.

More sanctions were imposed from the US on Iran, on Wednesday, targeting nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong, and China as well as three Iranian individuals.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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