PressTV, an Iranian state propaganda outlet, made the case in a column published Thursday that a riot at the U.S. Capitol the day before occurred because of the “racist roots of the United States” and, in particular, the racism allegedly inherent in the Electoral College system.
The article, on PressTV’s English language page, was published on the same day Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the United States and its constitutional republican system as “weak” and in decline. Iran is an authoritarian Islamic theocracy run by one man since 1979.
PressTV condemned the United States for having a system that does not represent the people. While the rioters that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday were part of a crowd claiming to protest President Donald Trump’s documented loss of the 2020 presidential election, the outlet claimed the true reasons for their presence there were based on long-simmering racial tensions between black and white Americans.
Rioters stormed the lawmaking headquarters Wednesday, breaking in, vandalizing parts of the building, and apparently taking photos in the legislative debate chambers. Police later confirmed reports of violence; at least four people died and dozens are believed to have been injured. The event took place Wednesday in defiance of Congress certifying the Electoral College vote from the November 2020 elections in favor of the president-elect, Joe Biden, set to take office January 20.
“To understand what took place on Wednesday … will help one to understand the history of the country. The event epitomizes a nation, which was built and has thrived on privilege for some and sacrifice and death for others,” PressTV claimed. “One may ask, how does an event like the taking over of the Capitol relate to the racist roots of the United States? The answer is multifaceted.”
The column went on to argue that the Electoral College system was inherently racist because of the existence of slavery in the United States at the time of its adoption. As the rioters were there to allegedly protest the Electoral College vote for Biden, racism is at the root of the riot itself, the article claims.
“Let’s start off by looking at the reason Congress was even in session. The body was there to verify the votes of the Electoral College. Why does the Electoral College even exist?” PressTV asked, later claiming that it existed to protect white supremacy. The article concludes the system exists because Southern American states wanted to “use Blacks to gain more political power, without even giving them the right to vote or any rights at all for that matter.”
“Due to the feeling of ‘being exceptional’ that is part of the DNA of many White Americans, we witnessed the other part of this extraordinary event which took place at the Capitol,” the article continued. “This is the story of the United States. There are a few different Americas. There is the US for the elite and for others. There is the US for Whites and non-Whites.”
“The United States is once again at a crossroads with its race struggles. The difference between being Black and White in the US was quite clear on Wednesday at the Capitol for those who want to see,” it went on, without elaborating.
“And this is a country where a White man, taking over the U.S. Capitol, can feel safer than a Black woman at home, sleeping in her own bed,” the article concluded, an apparent reference to Kentucky woman Breonna Taylor, who police killed in her home last year.
Participants in Wednesday’s events made no public connections between the rioting and racism. They also did not object to the electoral college system itself. They objected instead to the election procedure, which they claimed was marred by fraud on the part of Democrats. As Biden also won the popular vote, an election in which the person with the plurality of votes wins would not have addressed the issue the rioters claimed to be objecting to.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed “populism” more generally for the riot and claimed that it proved that a Western-style free society was “fragile” and not worth emulating.
“We have seen what damage a populist person has inflicted upon his own country in the last four years, bringing disgrace upon his nation while also inflicting great damage on our region, on Palestine, Syria and Yemen,” Rouhani said, referring to Trump, in remarks Thursday.
“I hope this would be a lesson for the whole world and also for the next rulers of the White House,” he concluded. “What we saw in the United States last night showed annihilation of Western democracy in the world.”
The incident on Wednesday followed a rally in support of President Donald Trump’s claims that he won the 2020 election, which he attended and delivered a speech to. During his remarks, Trump encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol and claimed he would also do so. He instead drove back to the White House and, following the end of the rally, a group of attendees broke away from the larger crowd and attacked the Capitol while lawmakers were certifying the election results, typically a procedural, uneventful affair following a presidential election.