President Donald Trump said the Iranian regime may collapse because of his administration’s policies, including leaving the international nuclear agreement with Tehran negotiated by his predecessor.

“When I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “Now it’s a question of will they survive. It’s a big difference in one and a half years.”

The president didn’t elaborate on the comment.

Trump — encouraged by Iran’s regional foes — pulled the U.S. from the 2015 international nuclear accord in May, accusing the Islamic Republic of threatening Middle East security as it expands its regional influence. He reimposed sanctions on Iran this month, with Iran’s vital oil industry due to face penalties beginning in November.

Inflation in Iran has surged and its currency weakened, placing added pressure on President Hassan Rouhani as he tries to navigate through the crisis.

Trump has said he’d be willing to meet Iran’s leaders to negotiate a tougher nuclear deal that would avoid sanctions pain. But that offer has been ruled out in Tehran by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. That leaves little room to avoid harsher penalties coming online in early November, as the U.S. seeks to cut Iranian oil sales abroad to as close to zero as possible.

Source » bloomberg