The Iranian government on Tuesday accused the United States of meddling in Iran’s presidential election last weekend and rejected U.S. criticism of the process as “neither free nor fair.”
The U.S. State Department said on Monday that Iran’s election was not “free and fair,” but a “pre-manufactured process,” since “Iranians were denied the right to choose their own leaders.”
This was a reference to the huge number of candidates “disqualified” in advance by the Iranian theocracy, before voters ever saw them on a ballot.
The eventual winner of the record-low-turnout election was Ebrahim Raisi, a hard line cleric under sanctions for human rights violations who is also a possible successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi immediately ruled out negotiations with the United States over Iran’s nuclear missile program unless the U.S. unilaterally removes all sanctions against the regime in Tehran.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabei denounced and rejected the State Department’s comments on Tuesday.
“We consider this statement as interference in our domestic affairs, contrary to international law and reject it,” Rabei said.
“The U.S. government is not in a position to have the authority to express its views on the process of elections in Iran or any other country,” he added.
Raisi himself gave a press conference on Monday in which he rejected a call by 150 human rights activists, legal experts, and former United Nations officials to investigate the murder of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, an atrocity he is accused of overseeing.
Raisi responded by accusing the United States of crimes against humanity and portraying himself as a “proud” champion of the oppressed.
“I’ve always defended the rights of the people. Human rights have been the most foundational base upon which I worked,” he insisted.
Raisi falsely stated he was elected with “massive” turnout, when there were actually fewer votes cast than at any time since the 1979 revolution. He suggested Iran’s Western adversaries employed “psychological warfare” tactics to suppress the vote.
“This meaningful presence of the people, their massive presence, came about despite the coronavirus situation, despite the many enmities and psychological warfare of the Iranian nation’s enemies,” he declared.
The Iranian regime actually has tried to meddle in U.S. elections, leading to sanctions imposed in October 2020 against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the theocratic wing of the Iranian military and a designated terrorist organization, and four other Iranian media and political entities. The Iranians obtained U.S. voter registration data and used it to generate a wave of phony threatening emails to Democratic voters in several states.
Western social media companies have banned Iranian disinformation networks on several occasions, including thousands of malicious Twitter and Facebook accounts that attempted to influence the 2018 midterm elections.