The day of the US presidential election is upon us and although Super Tuesday took place during the primaries, this is a “super” Tuesday indeed.
November 8, 2016 will mark a significant shift in US politics and will also impact the world – the election will have consequences for everyone, everywhere.
The close race between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump not only confused Americans but also the people of the Middle East who are not sure what they will wake up to on Wednesday morning.
Iran has made a point of commenting on the US election, with President Hassan Rowhani recently stating that the choice came down to bad and worse.
Then came the supreme leader’s turn to make his thoughts known.
Ayatollah Khamenei chose not to mention the candidates by name, rather arrogantly. He instead referred to them by their gender and called “the man” more honest than the other candidate.
Speaking to a crowd who had gathered to mark 38 years since the occupation of the US embassy in Tehran on November 4, the supreme leader criticized the presidential election in the US by saying “the remarks made by these two U.S. presidential candidates over the last few weeks on immoral issues — which are, for most part, not baseless accusations — are enough to disgrace America.”
Some observers believe that political leaders in Tehran are more fearful of Clinton than TrumpCamelia Entekhabi-Fard
Observers have taken his remarks to mean he has more interest in the Republican candidate despite Trump’s stated disillusionment with the Iranian nuclear deal which he thinks is a bad deal for the US.
Surprisingly, some Iranian officials have repeated Trump’s negative reactions and praised him by saying that the deal wasn’t a good deal, not even for the Iranians.
Preparing themselves for Trump?
Khamenei said that people are paying more attention to the male candidate “because the people look at what he says and see it is true. They see it in the facts of their lives.”
Some observers believe that political leaders in Tehran are more fearful of Clinton than Trump and see Trump as more open to negotiation than Clinton. These analysts say that Iran’s perceived lean toward the Republicans stems from a fear of Clinton.
Perhaps human rights issues and Iran’s controversial presence in Syria and regional interferences are pushing the Iranian establishment to support Trump.
Complaining about the implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal has become a staple of Ayatollah Khamenei’s public speeches. In the past few months, he has used all opportunities to express his frustration and disappointment toward the nuclear accord and has called Americans untrustworthy.
Perhaps in his view, the Americans are not to be trusted as the economic and political benefits granted to Iran as part of the deal have not yet been realized and the US has not accepted Iran’s adventures in the region.
Iranians are not worried about the fate of Iran’s nuclear deal that was reached over a year ago for they know that the nuclear accord is an international bond and is hard to dismiss by the next US president, despite the difficulties he or she can cause over its implementation.
What Iran has fears from the next US president is a lack of tolerance regarding Iran’s regional adventures. The presence of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria and Iraq and Tehran’s support of the Houthis in Yemen. It seems that Hillary Clinton is not okay with such affairs and will address the matter if she becomes the American president.
But for the rest of the region, they will be waiting to see how the next president deals with Iran and Syria.
Tuesday November 8 is a historical day on the US calendar and whichever way the election goes, the outcome will be considered phenomenal.
Camelia Entekhabi-Fard is a journalist, news commentator and writer who grew up during the Iranian Revolution and wrote for leading reformist newspapers. She is also the author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth - A Memoir of Iran. She lives in New York City and Dubai. She can be found on Twitter: @CameliaFard