Could Trump Victory be an Opportunity for Iran?

On Nov. 10, for the second day in a row, the 2016 US presidential election was the main story on the front pages of every newspaper in Iran, with Donald Trump dominating photos, cartoons and illustrations.

Shahrvand published a photo of Trump giving a thumbs-up from behind a curtain along with the banner headline “American Rebellion: Lonesome Billionaire Becomes US President.”

Abbas Abdi, a political activist and journalist who in 1979 was among the group of university students who stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, compared the elections in Iran and the United States in an article for Shahrvand. “Apparently the Iranian power holders’ disease of not being able to predict the result of the elections has spread to the developed world,” wrote Abdi.

According to him, politicians in Washington had failed to anticipate Trump’s election because of their dependency on a media that in Abdi’s view does not highlight real American society, thereby deluding the country’s elite.

Shargh’s front page carried the same photo of Trump that Shahrvand ran, but with the headline “Trump’s Typhoon; Republicans Occupy the White House, Senate, House.” An editorial said, “It seems that all nations owe to history an era of craziness,” referring to such episodes as the 1922 elections in Italy and the 1933 elections in Germany.

The daily compared Trump’s victory to George W. Bush’s victory in 2000, which led to the labeling of Iran as a member of the so-called Axis of Evil. Shargh wrote, “The [last] election was not just an incident happening in a faraway country. Today, Iranians look at the result of the election and think of their future through their previous experiences.”

The conservative Kayhan’s front page carried a photo of a protest against Trump’s election with a headline that read “Victory of Insane over Liar.” The daily also accused Iranian Reformist newspapers of having supported the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, charging, “Certain Reformist newspapers had become the Farsi-language branch of Clinton’s campaign and every day published a photo of the mother of [the Islamic State] on their front pages.”

Resalt argued that Trump’s victory is the defeat of outgoing President Barack Obama’s campaign slogan of “Change.” It stated, “Obama has not been able to fulfill his promises, and the people have not seen any change [during his administration].”

The newspaper Iran reported the result of the election under the headline “World in Puzzlement; Businessman Holds Keys of the White House.” Its editorial focused on Trump’s possible foreign policy, warning, “No longer is Iran encountering a ‘normal’ Republican administration. … [With the new president,] America is going to be an ‘irrational actor’ in the international community.”

The article went on to say, “At this sensitive time, Iran’s foreign policy needs to look for new coalitions and strengthen its relations with Europe. After the nuclear deal, many countries have considered Iran as their international partner.”

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