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Iran official admits sanctions are hurting

(AP) TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's parliament speaker has acknowledged that tightened sanctions are hurting Iran.

Ali Larijani said 20 percent of the country's economic problems are due to sanctions. He did not explain what that meant, but it was the first time that a top Iranian official has quantified the impact of sanctions on Iran's economy.

Larijani's assessment came two weeks after an oil embargo imposed by the European Union and banking sanctions by the U.S. took effect against Iran over its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment program.

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Larijani's comments were reported by the semi-official ISNA news agency Tuesday.

Economic experts say the cost of imports to Iran has increased between 20 and 30 percent because of Western sanctions.

The West suspects Iran of seeking to produce nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

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