Khamenei says outcome of US vote will not affect Iran's policies

Tehran (AFP) –

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The US presidential election will have "no effect" on Tehran's policies towards Washington, Iran's supreme leader said Tuesday.

"On the subject of the United States, we follow a sensible, calculated policy (which) cannot be affected by changes of personnel" in Washington, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech marking the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed.

"Today is election day in the United States. Things may happen but they do not concern us," he said. "Our policies are well defined and the coming and going of (presidents) will have no effect" on them.

American voters headed to the polls on Tuesday in a vote that coincides with the anniversary of the 1979 storming by radical students of the US embassy in Tehran.

The ensuing crisis lasted 444 days until 52 hostages were finally released, and has poisoned relations between the two countries to this day.

Iran and the US have come close to armed conflict twice since June 2019, following the Trump administration's withdrawal the previous year from a multilateral deal on the Iranian nuclear programme.

Trump has engaged in a policy of "maximum pressure" against Tehran, reimposing harsh sanctions that have plunged the Iranian economy into a severe recession.

Tehran has responded by rolling back its commitments under the 2015 accord.

Joe Biden, Trump's challenger, who is leading in polls, favours diplomacy with Iran and has backed the nuclear accord negotiated while he was vice president under Barack Obama.