Iranian election was “pre-manufactured," says US state dept
Though the recent Iranian presidential election was “pre-manufactured,” Washington sees diplomacy as the best way to achieve its objectives with Tehran, a senior State Department official said June 24.
By an overwhelming margin, and with historically low turnout, former Iranian chief justice Ebrahim Raisi was tapped as president-elect. The presumptive successor to supreme leader Ali Khamenei, Raisi’s success was largely a foregone conclusion considering the vetting by the 12-member Guardian Council. Few moderates were deemed eligible to run.
Speaking to reporters June 24, a senior State Department official said that Washington viewed the election as “a pre-manufactured process that did not reflect the will of the Iranian people.”
Multilateral talks aimed at reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are in their sixth round and a seventh is planned. The State Department official sought to downplay suggestions that an agreement was imminent, saying there were still “serious differences that have not been bridged.”
Raisi has already said he would not be having discussions with US president Joe Biden, though his ties to political assassinations in the late 1980s after the Iran-Iraq war leaves him vulnerable to sanctions and related travel restrictions. Raisi, however, has expressed support for ongoing negotiations. Foreign policy decisions, though, rest with the supreme leader.
On the issue of easing sanctions on Iranian oil exports, the State Department official said he did not want to show his cards and dismissed related questions.
Secondary sources reporting to economists at the OPEC found Iranian crude oil production remains strong at around 2.4mn b/d, though exports are difficult to track due to Iranian tendencies to mask its shipments.
Iran also holds considerable amounts of natural gas reserves, particularly offshore. Outgoing president Hassan Rouhani said this week that Iran is without rivals when it comes to supplying natural gas to the domestic market, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.