Iran's Khamenei Blasts Trump's 'Nascent Hooligans' Over 'Regime Change' Efforts

'Do not look at the bluster of this guy who has just come [to office as president] in America,' Iran's supreme leader says

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with Iranian officials and ambassadors of Islamic countries, Tehran, Iran, April 25, 2017.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with Iranian officials and ambassadors of Islamic countries, Tehran, Iran, April 25, 2017. HANDOUT/REUTERS

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, blasted U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday over what he described as Washington's efforts to impose changes on the Iranian government.

According to Iranian state TV, Khamenei said the U.S. has always sought “regime change” in Iran, efforts which he described as failed.

Khamenei described members of the Trump administration as "nascent hooligans who scare people by brandishing their knives until somebody punches them in the mouth." 

"Do not look at the bluster of this guy who has just come [to office as president] in America," Khamenei was quoted as saying by Press TV in reference to Trump.

The supreme leader said that America's attempts to impose regime change on Tehran are nothing new and have been known to fail.

"You see that since the outset of the revolution, these people who wished elimination of the Islamic Republic are now in the abyss of Hell and have left this world without having achieved their goal," Khamenei said.

In an apparent reference to the Trump administration's more direct approach to confronting Iran, Khamenei added that Washington's "language and tone has changed."

Following Iranian President Hassan Rohani's re-election in May, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed hope that Rohani would carry out democratic reforms during his second term. 

"We also hope that he restores the rights of Iranians, for freedom of speech, of organization, so that Iranians can live the life they deserve," Tillerson said.

Rohani, a cleric, broke the taboo of holding direct talks with the U.S. and reached an international deal in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

While Khamenei gave Rohani some leeway to negotiate the nuclear deal, other reforms he sought at home, especially greater political freedoms for Iranians, were stymied by the supreme leader and the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Trump has harshly criticized the nuclear accord struck under former U.S. President Barack Obama, but he has kept it alive while signaling a desire to confront Iran more directly.

Reuters contributed to this report.