Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed on Monday that Iran's position in the Middle East had never been stronger, but warned that the regime was at risk unless infighting between political factions was curbed.
"The greatness of the nation of Iran in the region is more than at any other time," Rouhani said in a speech in Tehran, carried by the state broadcaster and quoted by AFP.
"In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, northern Africa, in the Persian Gulf region -- where can action be taken without Iran?" he added.
Rouhani did not directly respond to comments on Sunday by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who called on Iran-backed militias fighting jihadists in Iraq to "go home".
At the same time, Rouhani warned that Iran's regime was under threat from fierce infighting between conservatives and moderates at home.
"We should not think that damaging one part of the system will strengthen the other part. No, the whole system will collapse," he said.
Rouhani, touted by the West as a “moderate”, won re-election in a landslide five months ago and, as part of his campaign, he repeatedly spoke out in public against hardliners, particularly the Revolutionary Guards who have great political influence in the country.
He appeared to have a change of heart two weeks ago, when he warned U.S. President Donald Trump against blacklisting the Revolutionary Guards, saying that doing so would be a “mistake beyond mistakes”. READ MORE