Khamenei met President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet yesterday and spoke of the "necessity of developing diplomacy and relations with foreign countries," according to a transcript published in English.
Tehran's diplomats have been scrambling to shore up trade ties with both European and Asian powers since the US announced in May that it was abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on Iran.
Khamenei's statement recalls a famous slogan from the early days of the 1979 revolution: "Neither East nor West, Islamic republic", echoing a desire to strike a path independently from the major Cold War powers.
In February, Khamenei surprised observers by saying that Iran now prioritised ties with the East over the West -- reflecting the much stronger ties it has developed with Russia and China in recent years.
Even before the US withdrawal, Iran had already been disappointed with the economic benefits of the nuclear deal as it emerged that a raft of remaining US sanctions were preventing the country from establishing international banking ties and other trade links.
Yesterday, he called for "courage and determination" from the government as it faced down the threats from the US, and said economic officials were now key to maintaining "hope and morale in people".
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