Iranian Media on Election Week

The Iranian media was transfixed by the U.S. election, with more than a dozen newspapers covering the race largely from their own ideological perspective – reformist, centrist, conservative or hardline. 

Conservative and hardline papers focused on the confusion surrounding the result. "Tensions between supporters of the two candidates have intensified and plunged the country into chaos," Javan, a hardline newspaper, reported on November 7. Right-wing outlets displayed images of street violence after President Trump refused to concede. "Cheating, chaos and street war" read a front-page headline in Kayhan, the most hardline paper, on November 7.

Reformist and centrist papers instead focused on the election’s potential impact on U.S.-Iran relations. “Can Biden cause a victory for reformists in 2021?” Shargh, a reformist newspaper, asked on November 5. They grew more optimistic of a Biden win as pivotal swing states were called. "Biden is on the verge of victory in the election, after a victory in Wisconsin and Michigan and leading in Pennsylvania," Etemad, a reformist paper, reported on November 7.

Conservative and hardline newspapers also downplayed the importance of the result. Their headlines instead echoed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's post-election remarks on the "political, civil, & moral decline" of the United States and reflected the regime's anti-Americanism. The following are selected frontpages from Iranian newspapers.



Shargh Logo

America's New Face After November 3

How Trump's presidency paved the way for armed groups to show their electoral power

Nov 4 Shargh



Nov 5 Aftab

Mystery of the United States 2020

The results of the U.S. elections have still not become clear
The two competitors progress neck and neck in key states

Nov 5 Aftab



Nov 5 Arman

Trump Won't Accept the Results!

Although Biden won Wisconsin, Trump applied for a recount

Biden is one step closer to the White House

Nov 5 Arman



Etemad Logo

Red Situation in America

Trump spoke of an early victory, Biden called for patience

Competition for the U.S. Senate majority tied to the presidential election

Nov 5 Etemad



Mardom Logo

Key to the White House in Mail-In Votes

Nov 5 Mardom



Nov 5 Shargh

Man-to-Man Clash

Can Biden cause a victory for reformists in 2021?

Nov 5 Shargh



Aftab logo

A World Without Trump

Nov 7 Aftab



Nov 5 Shargh

Palace of Loneliness: Early Return of Democrats to Power?

Biden's team is planning for the presidential transition

Nov 7 Shargh



Nov 7 Etemad

Democratic Dismissal

Nov 7 Etemad



Donya Logo

Breathtaking Competition in Key States

Will mail-in votes change the outcome of the U.S. elections?

Nov 5 Donya



Nov 5 Ebtekar

Close Competition Despite the Polls

U.S. election results accompanied by historically-low margins

Nov 5 Ebtekar



Hamshahri Logo

American Surprise

The U.S. presidential elections, regardless of the outcome, are a big surprise

Nov 5 Hamshahri



Donya Logo

Trump's Leaving

The Future of Trumpism

Donya Nov 7



Ebtekar logo

Blue Transformation in the White House

Joe Biden outperforms Trump in a complicated and breathtaking competition

Nov 7 Ebtekar



Hamshahri Logo

Countdown Begins

The U.S. presidential election results until now show that
Donald Trump will accept defeat and leave the White House

Nov 7 Hamshahri


Conservative and Hardline

Iran logo

The Fragile States [of America]

Biden and Trump's close competition in the U.S. elections has reached a dispute over votes

Nov 5 Iran



Javan Logo

Four-Year Lease on the White House Ends With Cheating and Ambiguity

Rouhani: For us, it's not important who gets elected in the United States

Nov 5 Javan



Iran logo

Scorching November: Trump's Leaving

Post-election protests and accusations intensified in the United States

Nov 7 Iran



Javan Logo

End of Elections, Beginning of Tensions

Challenging the U.S. presidential elections, tensions between
supporters of the two candidates have intensified and plunged the country into chaos

Nov 7 Javan



Jomhouri Logo

Trump's Heavy Defeat: United States on the Verge of Chaos

General Soleimani's killer overthrown

Jomhouri Nov 7



Kayhan Logo

Spectacle of U.S. Election: Cheating, Chaos and Street War

Kayhan Nov 7




Photo Credits: All photos from Iran Front Pages (CC By 4.0)

Andrew Hanna, a program specialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Ashley Lane, an intern at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, assembled this report.