Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei mocked the U.S. election on Tuesday in a televised address and criticized President Donald Trump’s concerns about the potential for election fraud.
According to the Associated Press, Khamenei said, “If you look at their own situation, it’s interesting to watch. The incumbent president, who is supposed to hold the elections, says this is the most-rigged U.S. election throughout history. Who says this? The sitting president who is arranging the elections himself. His opponent says Trump intends to widely cheat. This is American democracy.”
Khamenei’s comment that the sitting president is “arranging the elections himself” does not take into account that individual U.S. states are in charge of their respective election processes.
Khamenei also repeated the Iranian position that it does not matter whether Trump or Joe Biden wins the election and said the result of the vote “is none of our business, meaning it won’t influence our policy at all. Our policy is clear and well-calculated and people coming and going will have no impact on it.”
U.S. officials have raised warnings about Iranian efforts to interfere in the U.S. election. An intelligence report released in August, warned that Iran “seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections.”
The U.S. election result could impact U.S. policy towards Iran. Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal and has increased sanctions against Iran.
The Iran nuclear deal was favored by the previous U.S. presidential administration, including former President Barack Obama and Biden, who was the Vice President during the administration. According to the AP, Biden has said he would consider re-entering the Iran nuclear deal.
Two weeks ago, FBI director Chris Wray and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe warned that Iranian hackers had obtained US voter information, as did Russian hackers. Iran reportedly used U.S. voter information to send intimidating emails to voters and some of the emails reportedly sent by Iranian operatives were made to look as though they came from right-wing groups like the Proud Boys to Democratic voters. Ratcliffe, at the time, said the faked emails by Iran were meant to “intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
In an updated joint statement by the FBI and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Friday, the FBI and CISA warned Iranian hackers had obtained voter registration data in at least one U.S. state and spread claims suggesting the potential for fraud in the U.S. election. One claim spread by Iranian actors was that individuals could cast fraudulent ballots even from overseas. The FBI also warned that Iranian advanced persistent threat (APT) actors “are creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.”