This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani says the United States is seeking regime change in Tehran.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the beginning of the new academic year at Tehran University on October 14, Rohani accused the U.S. government of employing tactics such as psychological and economic warfare to spark a change of leadership in Iran.
In the speech, broadcast live on state TV, Rohani also said the United States is raising questions about the legitimacy of the Islamic republic as a means to pursue regime change.
“Reducing the legitimacy of the system is their final goal. When they say getting rid of, regime change in their own words, how does regime change happen? Through reducing legitimacy. Otherwise, a regime doesn’t change,” Rohani said during his speech.
The U.S. administration has been ratcheting up pressure on Tehran since President Donald Trump decided in May to pull the United States out of a 2015 nuclear deal that lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear activities.
The United States also reimposed sanctions against Iran, with a second round targeting Iran’s oil sector due to take effect on November 5.
The deal with six world powers provided Iran with some relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
The others who signed the pact – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China – have vowed to remain in the deal.
The move was harshly criticized by Iran.
Rohani has said that the pressure from its rival has strengthened national unity in the country.