Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the University of Tehran, October 14, 2018

Facing comprehensive American sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani says Iran will defeat US efforts at regime change.

In a televised speech on Sunday at Tehran University, Rouhani said of the Trump Administration:

The current administration is the most vengeful government towards Iran, Iranians and the Islamic Republic. Of course, enmities existed, but now, the worst have gathered in the White House.

They started with a psychological war. Their next goal is an economic war and an attempt to portray [Iran] ineffective, and their ultimate goal is to delegitimize the system and change it.

Donald Trump announced the expansion of sanctions in May when he withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China). A first stage was implemented in early August and sweeping restrictions — including on the energy and financial sectors — are planned for November 5.

Iran’s oil exports have dropped 30% since April, and a further fall is expected next month. Production, investment, trade, and employment have been affected, and the currency has fallen by almost 70% against the US dollar. There have been ongoing protests over wages and working conditions, with occasional closures of bazaars and a nationwide truckers’ strike in its fourth week.

But Rouhani maintained on Sunday that the US pressure has strengthened national unity.

Claiming that almost all countries view Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement as “illegal” and a “mistake”, he asserted, “From a political standpoint and a foreign policy perspective, Iran is certainly the winner and America the loser.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri claimed on Sunday that iran will suffer no effects, even if its oil sales are halved:

America will certainly not be able to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero….

America thinks Saudi Arabia can replace this oil. But right now Iran’s oil has reached more than $80 and with half the previous exports we will have the same income as before.

In fact, oil prices have risen only about 12% since April, when they stood at $72 per barrel. The cut in Iranian oil on the market has largely been covered by an increase in output by other OPEC members and by Russia.