Iran has vowed that its policy towards the U.S. will not change, regardless of who wins the U.S. elections.
On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CBS News that Iran doesn’t care who wins the U.S. election. Nevertheless, when pressed if the Islamic Republic had leanings one way or another, he admitted that, “the statements by the Biden camp have been more promising, but we will have to wait and see.”
He added that Iran wants the United States to rejoin the nuclear accord, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015. Yet, he specified that “re-engagement does not mean renegotiation” because “if we wanted to do [renegotiate the deal], we would have done it with President Trump four years ago.” The Trump administration had pulled out of the agreement in 2018.
That little hint is in reality just the tip of the iceberg. Most political analysts believe that Iran is secretly hoping that Biden will be the new White House resident.
This is partly because Iran wants the crippling economic sanctions against it lifted. That could only come with Iran returning to the nuclear deal. However, this won’t be easy. Since the U.S. withdrew from the agreement, the Iranians have set up large research and development centers and centrifuges to enrich nuclear material. This is in clear violation of the JCPOA.
The JCPOA had netted the Iranians billions in cash in exchange for curtailing their nuclear ambitions.
Additionally, the Iranian government had a much better relationship with the Obama administration of which Biden was vice president.
Iran’s preference for Biden also explains why in recent weeks it has ordered its proxy militias all across the Middle East and Africa, but especially in Iraq, to decrease attacks on U.S. targets. This was done to avoid giving Trump and the U.S. any excuse to launch a retaliatory strike, which the Iranians worried could become a last-minute boost to the president’s re-election bid.
In early October, to mask this policy, the Iranian proxy militias in Iraq announced a suspension of rocket attacks on U.S. forces “on the condition” that the Iraqi government presents a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal.
And where Iran goes, its proxy, Hezbollah, follows. Israeli analysts believe that in Lebanon Iranian pressure against Israel will increase with a Biden victory as the easing of economic sanctions will increase the funds funneled to Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy force in Lebanon.
Colonel Udi Evental, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, was quoted by the Jewish News Syndicate as saying that “if Iran prefers Biden, Hezbollah does as well.”
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, addressing Iran live on state-run television to mark the 41st anniversary of the Iranian takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran said that, “Our policy towards the United States is clearly set and does not change with the movement of individuals. It does not matter to us who comes and goes.”
During his televised address to the nation, Khamenei mocked the U.S. and its election system.
“The incumbent president, who is supposed to hold the elections, says this is the most-rigged U.S. election throughout history. Who says this? The sitting president who is arranging the elections himself. His opponent says Trump intends to widely cheat. This is American democracy,” Khamenei said.
“Such an empire will not last long. It’s obvious that when a regime reaches this point, it will not live for much longer and will be destroyed,” he added. “Of course, some of them, if they take office, will destroy America sooner, and some others if elected, will cause America to be destroyed a bit later.”
He referred to the U.S. as a “den of spies.”