US sanctions causing record drop in trade, a near-doubling of food prices, and severe effects on the health system.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has mocked the rancorous aftermath of Election Day in the United States, saying the vote has exposed the reality of its democracy.
More than 24 hours after the last polling stations closed in the US state of Alaska, the battle for the White House remains undecided.
US President Donald Trump has caused widespread disquiet, even among leaders of his own Republican Party, by flatly alleging fraud.
His Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s campaign team, on the other hand, has accused the incumbent of seeking to deny the electoral rights of tens of thousands of postal voters.
“What a spectacle!” Khamenei tweeted late on Wednesday. “One says this is the most fraudulent election in US history. Who says that? The president who is currently in office.
“His rival says Trump intends to rig the election! This is how #USElections & US democracy are.”
What a spectacle! One says this is the most fraudulent election in US history. Who says that? The president who is currently in office. His rival says Trump intends to rig the election! This is how #USElections & US democracy are.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 4, 2020
The deepening polarisation of US politics since Trump’s surprise election victory four years ago has drawn expressions of concern even from several Western allies, with Germany warning of a “very explosive situation” in the aftermath of the poll.
Despite US allegations that Tehran sought to use social media to influence voters in the run-up to polling day, Iran’s leadership has publicly insisted it favours neither candidate, despite their sharply divergent policies towards Tehran.
Trump has led a campaign of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic republic, pulling Washington out of a multilateral deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and reimposing crippling unilateral sanctions.
Biden has signalled he is ready to rejoin the landmark nuclear agreement struck in 2015 during his time as vice president under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
The long sanctions have significantly damaged the Iranian economy, leading to sharp currency devaluation and high inflation.
Iran has said it will not be pressured to renegotiate the nuclear deal and will adhere to all its commitments once the US lifts all sanctions and returns to the negotiating table.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also said if the next US administration chooses to change course, that could change facts on the ground, but that Iran is not holding its breath and would prepare for the worst.
Rouhani on Thursday said the next US president will have to give in to Iran, no matter which candidate wins.
“The US election results might be known by tonight or tomorrow and we will know who won but it’s not important. Whoever takes office, the next government with no doubt will surrender to the Iranian people,” he said.
Rouhani added that Trump “ruthlessly intensified the sanctions even in the coronavirus time”.
“They were not committed to any principles, neither human principles, nor human rights, nor international law and regulations,” he added.