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Rouhani Says Next US President Has To 'Surrender To The Iranian People'

Speaking of US president Donald Trump in the past tense as “the gentleman who was in the White House,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has reiterated that the result of US elections is not important for the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani, who was inaugurating a well-publicized water de-salination project on Thursday [November 5], said the US result would be known “tonight or tomorrow.” With his government facing economic recession amid harsh US sanctions, Rouhani maintained: “Without a doubt the next US administration will surrender to the Iranian people.”

President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration and began tightening economic sanctions against Iran, including tough banking restrictions and a strict ban on oil exports. The measures stripped the Islamic Republic of most of its foreign-currency income.

“The pressure put on the Iranian government and people in the past three years has been unprecedented in Iran’s history,” Rouhani said in his address. “The gentleman who was in the White House, mercilessly increased sanctions and war during the coronavirus [pandemic]. They were not committed to any human principles, human rights, and international law, but I am certain the [Iranian] people will be ultimately victorious.”

Referring to further public work projects due in the near future, Rouhani said that despite sanctions and the “terrorist government” in Washington, Iran had been able to take “big steps.”

In recent months, the Rouhani administration has been inaugurating many projects it claims to have completed, in an apparent attempt to maintain morale among a population struggling with economic hardship. The scope of the long-promoted de-salination project remains unclear.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in a speech November 3 that Iran’s policies would not be affected by the result of the US presidential election. But several politicians, pundits and media outlets have suggested that government officials and Iran’s reformists see a Biden victory as a lifeline as the Democratic candidate has voiced strong opposition to Trump’s Iran policy and may ease sanctions.

Ali Motahari, a former parliament speaker, said this week that Biden’s victory would give hope to Iranians, boost participation in next year’s presidential elections and reduce the chance that Iran’s conservatives would win.

Abbas Akhundi, former minister of roads and urban development, was more skeptical: “The only difference between Trump and them [the Democrats] is that Trump’s style is hard power and military approach while Democrats will use soft power to face off with Iran.”

The foreign currency exchange and the stock market in Tehran have been in an extremely jittery mood all week while awaiting the outcome of the presidential vote. The rial’s rate against the dollar has fluctuated in Tehran with every twist in news from the US.

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