Ahead of the United States' newest round of sanctions targeting his country, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday accused the Trump administration of "psychological and economic warfare" and of working toward regime change in Iran.
Speaking at Tehran University, Rouhani expressed outrage amid rising tensions following President Donald Trump's breach of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the U.S., and five other countries as well as the European Union.
"In the past 40 years, there has not been a more spiteful team than the current U.S. government team toward Iran, Iranians and the Islamic Republic," Rouhani said.
After announcing the United States' withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May—against the advice of several world leaders and the wishes of 63 percent of the American public—Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran, banning the country's purchasing of U.S. banknotes and precious metals as well as airplane and auto parts.
The effects of the sanctions have already been felt by Iranians, with the prices of cars, electronics, and medications doubling.
Earlier this month, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the United Nations ordered the U.S. to ensure its sanctions do not endanger Iranians by affecting the delivery of humanitarian aid.
"On humanitarian grounds, the U.S. must remove by means of its choosing any impediment to the free exportation to Iran of goods involving humanitarian concerns," the court said.
The sanctions scheduled to be imposed next month will target the country's oil exports, which account for one-fifth of Iran's economy.
National Security Adviser John Bolton insisted earlier this month that the U.S. is not seeking regime change in Iran—days after he told an audience at an anti-Tehran gathering that there would be "hell to pay" if Iran "crosses" the Trump administration.
Bolton's speech to @UANI boiled down to its last line, directed towards Iran's leadership: "We are watching and we will come after you." Amusing how the administration denies pushing regime change while its Strangelovian advisors spew cartoon villain rhetoric like this. pic.twitter.com/H9UJHGpmgx
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) September 25, 2018
"Reducing the legitimacy of the system is their final goal," said Rouhani on Sunday. "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."