Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday said that the country will neither go to war nor hold negotiations with the United States. “Recently, US officials have been talking blatantly about us,” he tweeted. “Besides sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations. In this regard, let me say a few words to the people: There will be no war, nor will we negotiate with the US.”

Last week, United States President Donald Trump reimposed economic sanctions against Iran, and called them the “most biting sanctions ever”. Trump had announced in May that he was pulling the US out of a Barack Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it “decaying and rotten”.

However, Khamenei said on Monday that Iran’s current economic problems were not the result of sanctions but internal mismanagement. “Today’s livelihood problems do not emerge from outside; they are internal,” he tweeted. “If actions are taken more efficiently, more prudently, more swiftly and more firmly, sanctions cannot have much effect and they can be resisted.”

“Not that sanctions are not playing a role [in economic problems],” Khamenei said at a rally in Tehran, according to ISNA news agency. “But the main reasons lie in the measures taken within the country.”

He also called for “serious punishment” for those who indulge in corruption. “Some years ago, I wrote a letter to the heads of the three branches of power [judiciary, executive and legislature], indicating that corruption is like a seven-head dragon that needs to be totally obliterated,” the leader said. “Know that economic convicts are going to be seriously confronted with; with no compromise.”