PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader in Esfahan on Wednesday
The Supreme Leader has dismissed any significance in last week’s victory of Donald Trump, in his first direct comment on the US Presidential election.
Ayatollah Khamenei told an audience on Wednesday:
I have no judgement about the U.S. elections because America is still the same. In the past 37 years, neither political party has done any good, and they have constantly directed their hostility toward the Iranian nation….
We are neither celebrating nor mourning because the elections make no difference to us.
Unlike many in world who are happy or unhappy with U.S. presidential election results, we are neither unhappy nor happy.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 16, 2016
The regime has been split in its reactions, as it has tried to understand Trump’s surprise success over Hillary Clinton.
Some regime officials initially expressed a cautious welcome, despite Trump’s hostility to the July 2015 nuclear deal during his campaign.
Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of the National Security Council, said he hoped for a review of “policies based on disregard for the policies of the majority” and reconsideration of “the spending of countless resources to pursue policies based on domination, intervention, and war in other countries”.
However, the Revolutionary Guards took a tougher line, proclaiming that Trump is “talking off the top of the head” and declaring Iran’s military superiority over the US in the Persian Gulf and the region.
Others, like head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani, also derided Trump but looked to his win as a sign of the “collapse” of the US.
Meanwhile, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif maintained the priority of continuing the nuclear deal, with the removal of US sanctions, although Zarif said Tehran has “other options” if Trump tries to abandon the agreement.
In his Wednesday speech, the Supreme Leader returned to the initial line set by Shamkhani. He said that, despite no difference in US Administrations, Trump had called for the use of American taxpayer dollars on domestic issues rather than “war”.
However, Khamenei warned, “Insight means that you know who you are dealing with and how they think about you. If you close your eyes towards that, you will certainly get struck with a blow.”