Iran's top leader says European countries are "foolish" to support sanctions against Tehran, telling them they are sacrificing themselves for the sake of the United States.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei admitted that sanctions have caused problems but said the Islamic Republic will overcome the difficulties, and that Europeans are facing far more complicated economic problems than Iranians.

His speech in the northeastern city of Bojnourd was broadcast on state TV Wednesday.

The EU imposed an oil embargo against Iran in July, adding to U.S.-led sanctions that also prohibit the world's banks from completing oil transactions with Iranian banks and further complicate Iran's ability to conduct international commerce.

The sanctions are imposed over Iran's nuclear program. The West accuses Iran of seeking to develop weapons, a charge Tehran denies.