Rouhani says U.S. policies important, not who runs White House

November 4, 2020 - 15:25

TEHRAN — President Hassan Rouhani says it doesn't matter who becomes the president of the United States, noting what matters is that the U.S. returns to all its international and multilateral commitments.

"Our economic decisions in the last few weeks were made without regarding who will be elected in the U.S.," Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning.

"We don't care what would happen in the U.S. and who would be elected. However, their election was a lesson-teaching moment from several perspectives," he said.

The president said Iran wants the U.S. to return to international law and respect the Iranian nation. "We want respect to replace sanctions," he said.

He said if the U.S. chooses the path to respect Iran instead of imposing sanctions, the situation will change.

Tensions soared between Tehran and Washington since Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal on May 8, 2018. The U.S. president not only exited the deal but has since targeted Iran with a series of harsh economic bans. Trump has called the sanctions his "maximum pressure" campaign aimed at forcing Iran to renegotiate the nuclear deal.

As the American people were preparing to cast their votes on Tuesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei outlined Iran’s strategy to make the country impervious to any change in the U.S. leadership.

In a televised speech, the Leader said Iran’s policies will not change with a change in U.S. leadership, thus rebuffing any speculation that Tehran and Washington could repair the damage the Trump presidency has done to Iran-U.S. relations over the past four years. 

“Some imagine that if a government succumbs to U.S. demands and policies, it will benefit from that. This is while governments that have surrendered to the U.S. bullying, have borne the brunt the most and their troubles have increased,” said the Leader, warning that the U.S. hostilities toward the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue regardless of who will win the U.S. presidential election. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said the statements by Joe Biden with regard to Iran have been more promising than those of the incumbent Donald Trump.

"The statements by the Biden camp have been more promising, but we will have to wait and see," Zarif said in a recent interview with CBS News.

He made the remarks when pushed to pick one of the two U.S. presidential candidates. Zarif initially insisted that Tehran has no preference between Trump or Biden.

He emphasized that it's not what the new administration says during the campaign that counts, but what it does in office.

"What is important for us is how the White House behaves after the election, not what promises are there, what slogans are made. The behavior of the U.S. is important. If the U.S. decides to stop its malign behavior against Iran, then it will be a different story no matter who sits in the White House," the chief Iranian diplomat said.

The Biden campaign has signaled that if he becomes president his administration would try to renegotiate the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was struck when he was vice president.

Zarif, on the other hand, insisted that "under no circumstances" would Tehran consider renegotiating the terms of the deal which was adopted as a UN Security Council Resolution.

"If we wanted to do that [renegotiate], we would have done it with President Trump four years ago," Zarif told CBS News.

He was categorical that Iran would, instead, like to see the U.S. re-join the JCPOA.

"We can find a way to re-engage, obviously. But reengagement does not mean renegotiation," he said. "It means the U.S. coming back to the negotiating table." 

MH/PA

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