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.