Iran taunts America: How long can debt-laden US remain world power? Jerusalem Post ^ | 10/18/2012 Iran: How long can debt-laden US... JPost - Iranian Threat - News Ahmadinejad says US influence in world affairs waning due to massive debt and loss of legitimacy, adds West increasingly questioning legitimacy of "Zionist regime," hints EU hurt more by sanctions than Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted the impending downfall of the "US empire," blaming the collapse on a combination of the country's massive debt and its loss of legitimacy within the international community, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported Thursday. How long can a government with a $16 trillion foreign debt remain a world power? he asked at a press conference with Kuwaiti media personnel. "The Americans have injected their paper wealth into the world economy and today the aftermaths and negative effects of their pseudo-wealth have plagued them. He added: An empire, or a government, remains in power so long as the people under its power support it, but today the Americans have acted in a way that the world nations do not like them at all, and therefore, their international legitimacy is annihilated. Ahmadinejad also predicted that the West would soon drop their alliance with the "Zionist regime," saying that Westerners and US politicians are increasingly "at a loss" as to why Israel exists. Downplaying the effect of Western sanctions on the Iranian economy, Ahmadinejad said that the Islamic Republic would persevere. "The hegemonic powers have no way [forward], but to change the conditions. Earlier this month, riots broke out in Tehran in protest of the collapse of the rial currency, which has lost some two-thirds of its value against the dollar in the past 15 months, stoking inflation that is now running at around 25 percent.