Why Are Some Iranian Conservatives Cheering For Trump?
Those involved in politics in Iran have different views as to the best outcome in the United States presidential election. Many fed up with Iran’s political deadlock and punishing US sanctions hope victory for the Democratic Party’s Joe Biden would reduce international tensions and improve Iran’s economy.
A second group says there is little difference between Iran policies of the two candidates, and that Iranians should look for reforms at home to improve their plight. But a third group is comprised of conservatives who favor a second term for President Donald Trump, says a report published on October 30 by Fararu website.
Mohammad Sadeq Javadi-Hesar, a reformist analyst and leading member of the National Trust Party, tells Fararu that those cheering for Trump victory either already benefit politically from the current situation or think they would gain from persistent US pressures on Iran. Javadi-Hesar says that there may be even powerful individuals who see Trump’s re-election as benefiting their financial interests through continuing sanctions and economic crisis.
Javadi-Hesar suggests that a re-elected Trump administration would doom Iran’s reform movement, while Biden’s election would make it difficult for Iranian conservatives to win the presidency in the June 2021 election. But the view that Trump weakens their political rivals, Javadi-Hesar argues, is held not just by Iran’s ultra-conservatives but by those Iranians living abroad who hope that a Trump victory would lead to the end of the Islamic Republic.
A second reformist activist, Darioush Ghanbari, is clearly displeased by the notion of a second Trump term. “No patriotic Iranian would want Trump to win the US election, although there is not much of a difference between him and his Democratic rival,” Ghanbari tells Fararu. “Trump declared his enmity with Iran when he barred Iranians from travelling to the United States and also when he imposed the oppressive sanctions against our country…Although their [the two candidates’] strategies are the same, yet a change in tactics would reduce the pressures on Iran to some extent.”
Ghanbari welcomes Biden’s remarks about returning the US to the Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. But he stresses that a Biden victory would not produce a major change in Iran’s relations with America, and that the US is not ready to come to terms with the idea of Iran as a regional power.
Ghanbari agrees with Javadi-Hesar that radical conservatives in Iran share some views with Iran’s “enemies,” citing a common opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal. He further echoes Javadi-Hesar’s point that some Iranians might financially benefit from a second Trump term, although he suggests such benefits would be short-term.
Other media outlets have also examined Iranian conservatives’ sentiments about the US election, with some recently reporting politicians around former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad favoring Trump. Aftab Yazd, the daily reformist newspaper, on October 28 cited both Ahmadinejad’s website and the Twitter account of Adbolreza Davari, a close ally, backing the sitting US president.
Aftab Yazd quoted Davari’s praise of Trump for not launching a new war in the Middle East, contrasting with his suggestion that a Biden presidency would see wars again flare up. According to Aftab Yazd, Ahmadinejad’s aides openly express support for Trump’s re-election because his policies have sidelined their reformist rivals in Iran. At the same time, the daily argued, Trump had so undermined President Hassan Rouhani that many Iranians looked back favorably at the days when Ahmadinejad was in office.