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.
America's New Face After November 3
How Trump's presidency paved the way for armed groups to show their electoral power
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
Trump Won't Accept the Results!
Although Biden won Wisconsin, Trump applied for a recount
Biden is one step closer to the White House
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
Key to the White House in Mail-In Votes
Can Biden cause a victory for reformists in 2021?
A World Without Trump
Palace of Loneliness: Early Return of Democrats to Power?
Biden's team is planning for the presidential transition
Breathtaking Competition in Key States
Will mail-in votes change the outcome of the U.S. elections?
Close Competition Despite the Polls
U.S. election results accompanied by historically-low margins
The U.S. presidential elections, regardless of the outcome, are a big surprise
The Future of Trumpism
Blue Transformation in the White House
Joe Biden outperforms Trump in a complicated and breathtaking competition
The U.S. presidential election results until now show that
Donald Trump will accept defeat and leave the White House
Conservative and Hardline
The Fragile States [of America]
Biden and Trump's close competition in the U.S. elections has reached a dispute over votes
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
Scorching November: Trump's Leaving
Post-election protests and accusations intensified in the United States
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
Trump's Heavy Defeat: United States on the Verge of Chaos
General Soleimani's killer overthrown
Spectacle of U.S. Election: Cheating, Chaos and Street War
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.