Iran sanctions helping Ahmadinejad: Karroubi

LONDON — Western countries' sanctions against Iran are boosting rather than hurting the Iranian government, opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi said in an interview with a British newspaper published Thursday.

Karroubi said the sanctions gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government a justification for clamping down on opponents.

"Look at Cuba and North Korea," he told the Guardian newspaper. "Have sanctions brought democracy to their people?

"They have just made them more isolated and given them the opportunity to crack down on their opposition without bothering themselves about the international attention," he said in an email exchange.

Karroubi added that sanctions were "strengthening the illegitimate government" and giving them an "excuse... to suppress the opposition by blaming them for the unstable situation of the country."

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