TEHRAN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani chairs a cabinet meeting yesterday. - AFP

TEHRAN: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani yesterday said the next US administration has an opportunity to "compensate for its previous mistakes" following Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election. "Now there is an opportunity for the future American administration to compensate for its previous mistakes and return to the path of adherence to international commitments," Rouhani said, in a statement on his official website.

US President Donald Trump, who lost Tuesday's election to Democratic challenger Biden, has applied a "maximum pressure" policy and crippling sanctions against Iran since his 2018 withdrawal from a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran. The reimposed sanctions targeted Iran's vital oil industry and banking ties, among other sectors. This US "administration's harmful and wrong policy for the past three years was not only condemned by people all around the world, but was also opposed by the people of (the US) in the recent election," Rouhani said.

He added that the Iranian people's "heroic resistance against the imposed economic war" by the Trump administration "proved that America's maximum pressure policy is doomed to fail." Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the US election result would have "no effect" on Tehran's policies towards Washington. Biden has said during his campaign that he plans to embark on a "credible path to return to diplomacy" with Iran, and raised the possibility of returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, negotiated when he was vice president under Barack Obama.

'Deeds matter most'
Iran's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Twitter that "the world is watching" whether the new US administration "will abandon disastrous lawless bullying of outgoing regime and accept multilateralism, cooperation & respect for law." "Deeds matter most," he added. Most of Iran's daily newspapers reported on Biden's victory on their front pages with pictures of him and Trump.

The conservative Resalat paper wrote that "the unmasked enemy left, the masked enemy arrived," echoing the official line that US policies will not fundamentally change with presidents. The ultra-conservative Vatan-e Emrooz focused on Trump's allegations of fraud in the election, in a report titled "the graveyard of democracy," featuring a cartoon Biden sneaking away with a ballot in a skeleton's hand. "The complaining president!" reformist Arman-e Melli wrote, while the mainstream Hamshahri daily said "it's over: the age of Trump came to an end after four days of uncertainty."

On Tehran's streets, some expressed happiness over Trump's election loss. Trump and Biden "do not differ, but we're at least happy that we won't see the cursed face of this wretch (Trump) anymore," construction painter Gholamreza Goudarzi said. A retired government employee, only giving his name as Ahmadifar, said "one can't predict how things will be, yet it seems (Biden) might be better than" Trump. Bank employee Zolfaqar Lotfi was openly positive about a Biden presidency. "I feel things are somehow calmer," Lofti said. "Inshallah (God willing) things will get even better for the people of Iran."- AFP