Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that Tehran needed to tailor the economy to subvert Western sanctions, saying the current approach would be a "losing strategy."
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the comments were the latest sign that "the comprehensive international, multinational effort to sanction Iran has been effective in the sense that it has had a profound impact on the Iranian economy."
"Iran is paying a high price for its refusal to abide by its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and will continue to pay a high price."
Carney said there was a "different path" available to Iran if it would seriously abide by comments to open its nuclear program, which the West believes is designed to make weapons, to international inspections.
In remarks to Iranian lawmakers, Ahmadinejad said one solution would be to "ultimately decide to once and for all cut the government's dependence on oil revenues," warning that it would create "pressure as the result."
Iran lost a substantial part of its oil revenues in 2012 due to sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program, Iranian officials have said.
Estimated by experts at around five billion dollars per month, the loss in oil revenues has led to a contraction of the 2013/2014 budget being prepared by the government, according to some MPs.
The sanctions have also had a role in the collapse of the Iranian currency and thus soaring prices, exerting "pressure on a large part of the people," Ahmadinejad said.