Iran’s leadership is ready to “starve its people” to take over the Middle East and “restore the Persian Empire”, a current affair expert claimed as fears of clashes between Washington and Tehran grow, the Daily Express reported.
The Iranian government, led by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and a class of Islamic clerics, dreams of redrawing the map of the Middle East and bring the neighbouring states under its control, according to John Xenakis, a current affair expert.
Mr Xenakis, author of 'World View: Iran's Struggle for Supremacy', said: "The leadership is fanatically obsessed with restoring the Persian Empire and gaining hegemony over the whole region.
"There is no scenario in which that can happen, but they're willing to spend money, starving their people, in order to gain influence with the Houthis, Hezbollah, al-Assad, and Hamas."
However, Tehran is facing the fierce opposition from internal and external forces.
Tehran is struggling to keep its economy afloat after Washington issued crippling sanctions following Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA, also known as Iran nuclear deal.
In August, Mr Trump prohibited Iran from using US currency, dealing a first heavy blow to ISIS.
He also barred Tehran from buying US and European aircraft and trading in cars and metals.
The US President has also announced further sanctions will be issued in November, and has urged financial partners of Tehran, including the European Union, to refrain from importing the country’s oil in a bid to cut the country’s exports to zero.
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, hit back - accusing the US administration of “bullying” Iran’s partners at his speech during last month’s annual gathering of the UN General Assembly.
Earlier this week, Mr Rouhani claimed the US is seeking a “regime change” in Iran.
In a speech broadcasted by the Iranian state TV, he said: “In the past 40 years there has not been a more spiteful team than the current US government team towards Iran and Iranians.
“There was a time when there was one person who had enmity.
“The rest were moderate. Now the worst has gathered around each other.”
But Iran is also facing internal rebellions from the younger generations, tired of its extremist leadership, Mr Xenakis explained.
The internal infighting, which erupted earlier this year in violent protests in the streets of many Iranian cities, makes it even more difficult for the ruling class in Tehran to pursue its dream, a restored "Persian Empire", according to the expert.
He said: ”Today, there's a huge generation gap in Iran.
"The older generations, the ones who live through the Great Iranian Revolution [which in 1979 overthrew a long-standing Persian monarchy] and the Iran versus Iraq war, are fanatical in wanting to gain hegemony over the entire region.
"The younger generations are strongly anti-war.
"They see the extreme corruption in the government, and believe that the money that Iran gained through the JCPOA was wasted on the elite, especially on wealthy clerics, on the IRGC, and on wars in Yemen and Syria, and in wasting money on the Palestinians.
"Now that the sanctions have been reapplied, Iran's economy is in difficulty, and the leadership is restrained by lack of money and lack of support from younger generations."