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This article seeks to explain the combined political effects of international sanctions against Iran and Tehran's domestic responses on the power structure of the targeted regime. It contends that although sanctions have contributed to elite infighting in Iran, they have not weakened the targeted regime. The Iranian leadership's modified reading of the imposed sanctions from targeted United Nations, US and European Union (EU) nonproliferation sanctions as an opportunity to develop indigenous nuclear capabilities to the perception of comprehensive and coordinated US and EU sanctions as regime change efforts marked a critical juncture. Tehran's adjusted responses to these sanctions, shaped by the interplay between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, affected Iran's balance of power to the detriment of the outgoing president and his faction. This impact sheds a light on the workings of a targeted hybrid regime under intensive sanction pressure.