Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, admitted Friday that economic sanctions against Iran have taken a toll on the country, and that Iran has entered an economic crisis. His comments were made at a public forum and then posted on the Revolutionary Guards’ website.

Referring to risks that are negatively affecting Iran — tools of the “soft war” — Jafari listed economic sanctions as well as viruses, spyware, espionage, and the sale of faulty equipment to Iranian forces.

“We have reached a sensitive and fateful period,” stated Jafari, adding that the paramilitary forces, known as the Basiji, are necessary to protect the nation.

The West has tightened sanctions to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium, suspecting that Iran aims to build nuclear weapons. Iran contends its nuclear development program is for peaceful purposes — something Israel contends.

On Wednesday, the United States passed far-reaching sanctions against Iran – its toughest yet — which add penalties to the country’s petroleum industry as part of the ongoing effort to encourage Iran to cooperate with international regulators regarding its nuclear program.

Iran’s nuclear program has been hit several times by computer viruses. When it acknowledges the attacks, Iran blames Israel and the US.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.