Iran's Khamenei says US election will not affect Tehran's policy

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that the result of the US presidential election will not in any way impact Tehran’s policy toward the US.

“Our policy toward the US is clear and calculated and does not change with the movement of individuals. Who becomes president has no effect on our politics,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.

While Iranian officials stress that it makes no difference to Iran who wins the US election, the Islamic republic is said to prefer a Joe Biden victory.

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Asked about which candidate Iran prefers, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told US network CBS on Monday that “the statements by the Biden camp have been more promising, but we will have to wait and see.”

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated since 2018 when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed crushing sanctions on Iran.

Biden has vowed to return to the deal, while Trump has said he wants a more comprehensive deal that would cover nuclear issues, Iran’s ballistic missile program and Iranian activities in the Middle East.

Khamenei was speaking on the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, which coincided with the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Khamenei praised the seizure of the US embassy.

Supporters of the founder of the Islamic Republic and former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini attacked the US embassy in Tehran in November of 1979, less than a year after the Islamic revolution in Iran.

US diplomats and embassy staff were held hostage for 444 days in an incident which kick-started US sanctions on Iran.

State-sponsored marches are held across Iran every year to mark the embassy seizure with demonstrators chanting “death to Israel” and “death to America” and burning the flags of the two countries.

But all rallies and events have been cancelled this year due to the spread of the coronavirus which according to government figures has killed around 36,000 people in the country.

-With Reuters

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