Iran's supreme leader is praising President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for "standing up to" the West in a dispute over the country's nuclear program.

State TV quotes Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying Ahmadinejad's government has helped "revive" the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution that transformed Iran into a strict theocracy.

He was also quoted Sunday as saying "some bullying countries ... wanted to impose their will on Iran (over the nuclear issue) ... but the president stood up to them."

Ahmadinejad has come under some domestic criticism for his handling of the economy, despite a 2005 campaign promise to distribute Iran's oil revenue to each family. Iran faces skyrocketing food and fuel prices, unemployment and inflation.