Iran summoned the Swiss envoy on Thursday to protest against what it referred to as “baseless” US claims that Tehran has tried to interfere in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
“Iran’s strong rejection of American officials’ repetitive, baseless and false claims was conveyed to the Swiss ambassador... As we have said before, it makes no difference for Iran who wins the US election”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state TV.
The Swiss envoy was summoned over the matter as Switzerland represents US interests in Iran because Washington and Tehran share no diplomatic ties.
The Iranian mission to the UN likewise commented on the issue, with its spokesman, Alireza Miryousefi, stating that “unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other countries’ elections”,
“The world has been witnessing US's own desperate public attempts to question the outcome of its own elections at the highest level", Miryousefi struck back, suggesting that certain political forces in the US have themselves been trying to undermine voter confidence in the run-up to the vote.
For instance, there’s of late been a heated debate over issues such as pandemic-inspired voting by mail, with Republicans calling into question mail-in ballots and slamming the alleged use of falsely labelled ballot boxes to siphon early votes in California and other states.
In late September, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to Twitter, reiterating that Iran had no preference for the next American president.
“Only option for any US president: Gain trust to reenter JCPOA”, said the Iranian foreign chief, underscoring that “Iran is always ready for inclusive regional dialogue”.
US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe claimed Wednesday that Russia and Iran had both attempted to interfere in the forthcoming 3 November presidential election. The two countries have repeatedly denied the claims, with Moscow stressing more than once that it fully abides by the international norm of non-interference in other countries' domestic policies.
Tensions have become even more acute between Tehran and Washington since May 2018, when President Donald Trump unilaterally exited the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and stepped up sanctions on Tehran and countries continuing doing business with the Islamic Republic.
On 18 October, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US was ready "to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran". He added that if a country supports the fight against terrorism, it "should refrain from any arms transactions with Iran".
The comments came after a decade-long UN arms embargo on Iran expired, permitting Tehran to buy foreign weapons.
Earlier, in mid-September, Washington beefed up its military presence near Iran, deploying a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf in a move that a senior Iranian commander called “theatrics”. As Iran's President Hassan Rouhani put it at the time, US forces in the Middle East undermine stability and security, and all nations in the region where American troops are based should make a concerted effort to expel them.