Rudy Giuliani, a personal lawyer of U.S. President Donald Trump, has said he favors the "overthrow" of Iran's theocratic regime.
Giuliani was speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Farda on February 13 on the sidelines of a major Middle East conference in Warsaw which Iranian officials have blasted as an "anti-Iran circus."
"I believe there has to be an overthrow of this regime," Giuliani said, adding that he was speaking in his personal capacity and not as an official representative of the U.S. administration.
The Trump administration has consistently said it is not seeking "regime change" in Tehran, only a "change in behavior."
"I don't think this theocratic dictatorship can possibly become some kind of democratic, liberal democratic force," Giuliani added while accusing Iranian leaders of killing their opponents.
"They're murderers, they're killers, they're assassins," he said. "I think this regime has to go."
Giuliani made the same call at a rally in Warsaw organized by the Iranian exile opposition group People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran (aka Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, MKO), which was once blacklisted by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist organization.
Giuliani has called for a regime change in Iran at a several MKO events.
The group has almost no support inside Iran, where many despise it for siding with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the bloody 1980-88 war with Iraq.
U.S. media have reported that MKO pays high fees to former officials who speak at their rallies. It wasn't clear if Giuliani had been paid to speak at the MKO event in Warsaw.
Trump has pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed tough economic sanctions.
The sanctions have hurt the country's economy and contributed to the devaluation of the national currency.
Giuliani said the sanctions had been "very effective."
"I know that because there were protests inside Iran every couple of days to overthrow the regime," he said.
Iranians protested economic conditions and corruption in late 2017 and early 2018.
The protests spread to more than 80 cities and towns where demonstrators chanted against Iranian leaders.
Since then, the country has experienced relatively small, scattered protests.