Iranian officials react to Biden victory in US presidential race

As politicians in Iran welcomed Trump’s defeat, some were sceptical about the prospects of improved relations.

Iran President Hassan Rouhani urged Joe Biden to make amends for Donald Trump's Iran policy [Iranian Presidency via AFP]

Tehran, Iran – Figures from across the Iranian political spectrum have reacted differently after Joe Biden was projected as the winner of the presidential election in the United States.

Shortly after Biden’s victory was reported by major US media outlets, the English-language Twitter account of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reposted a segment of a speech made last week in which he called the US elections a “spectacle”.

“This is an example of the ugly face of liberal democracy in the US,” the tweet read. “Regardless of the outcome, one thing is absolutely clear: the definite political, civil, and moral decline of the US regime.”

President Hassan Rouhani, quoted by state media on Sunday, said Biden should make amends for President Donald Trump’s policies towards Iran.

He said the Biden victory is “an opportunity for the next US government to make up for past mistakes and return to the path of adhering to international commitments with respect to global rules”.

He said by resisting the “imposed economic war” of the US, the Iranian people have proven that US “maximum pressure” campaign has been defeated.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted his hopes that the new administration would “accept multilateralism, cooperation & respect for law” and said, in parting, that Iran’s record has been one of “dignity, interest & responsible diplomacy”.

First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said the era of Trump and his “adventurous and warmongering team” has come to an end, and that Iran would not forget the “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions and the assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani.

“I hope we will witness a change in the destructive policies of the US and a return to law and international commitments and respect for nations,” Jahangiri wrote in a tweet.

Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, which placed curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, and unilaterally reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran.

He also ordered the assassination of Soleimani in Iraq via a drone strike, for which Iran has promised “harsh revenge”.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said the ending of Trump’s presidency was a “predestined verdict of history”.

[Translation: The end of #Trump is not a surprise, it is the predestined verdict of history. Most people of #America rejected the record of all the failure of thinking that bullying was the solution to problems. Does the elected government understand that under the white frame of his picture in the White House, instead of the words “the forty-fifth president”, he should write: “A lesson for the future”]

Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf posted a verse from the Quran and a short video of part of a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of the Iran-backed Lebanese political party and armed group Hezbollah.

In the video, Nasrallah predicted that Trump would lose the election and that he is losing the Middle East region.

“When the US leaves our region, these Zionists will pack up and leave. We might not even have to fight a battle against Israel,” he said.

‘Trump is gone’ vs ‘American imperialism remains’

Hamid Baeidinejad, the Iranian ambassador to the United Kingdom, said the political life of a man “who only spread hatred” had “come to an end”.

“Trump couldn’t make Iran surrender and now his [political] life came to an end while wishing for a phone call from Iran,” he wrote on Twitter.

Baeidinejad also attached a meme based on a famous photo from 1979, days before the revolution that birthed the Islamic Republic. The original photo showed two men on a bike, one holding a newspaper with the headline: “The shah is gone”. The meme had the headline changed to: “Trump is gone”.

Culture minister Abbas Salehi said Trump was gone while Iran remains standing.

“Tomorrow and other days will also be the same!” he said in a tweet.

Hesameddin Ashena, adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted that Iran refused to bow down to US pressure, and Biden should learn from that.

“Iranians stood tall until that dastardly man was gone,” he wrote.

But some members of parliament, which had been formed with a conservative majority after low-turnout elections in February, expressed scepticism that a Biden presidency bodes much better for Iran.

“Apparently the world is rid of Trump, but the evil of American imperialism remains,” Tehran representative Nezameddin Mousavi wrote on Twitter.

He said Trump, who he described as a “poisonous zombie”, was a product of the American system and that “zombies are still alive”.

Member of Parliament Ali Akbar Alizadeh said on Twitter that differentiating Trump and Biden at best emanates from “naivete and a lack of correct understanding of US foreign policy fundamentals on Iran”.

Source: Al Jazeera