The Inauguration in Iran

Iranian reaction to Donald Trump’s inauguration was a bit muted this weekend thanks in part to the continuing coverage of the Plasco building collapse in central Tehran. The building, home to several hundred garment and fabric merchants, collapsed following a fire that began on Thursday morning. The exact number of casualties is still unknown, but several dozen people, including 20-30 firefighters, are feared dead.

Newspapers on Sunday carried some reactions to Trump’s inauguration, many of them focusing on the global protests held the day after he was sworn in to office. The conservative papers, in particular, seemed to pick up on the protest theme. JavanJamhouri Eslami, and Jam e Jam all ran front page items on global opposition to the new president. The hardline Kayhan went a step further, framing the protests as a collection of lawless rioters causing “unrest” and “chaos” across the United States.

As for official reaction, there hasn’t been much of note. Ever since the election, Iranian officials have been content to repeat their position that the United States is not capable of unilaterally scuttling the nuclear deal, nor is Iran willing to engage in any renegotiation of its terms. Vague threats against Iran have been met with equally vague responses. Ali Akbar Salehi, director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, typified this approach in an interview on Sunday, saying that Iran is “prepared” to “act appropriately”if Trump follows through on his campaign pledge to “tear up” the nuclear deal. For what it’s worth, he also mentioned that he viewed the absence of any explicit mention of Iran in Trump’s inaugural address as a “positive.”

The most amusing news item from the inauguration weekend ran on Jam e Jam‘s website, where they posted a video from the multi-denominational pre-inauguration church service with the headline, “Quran Reading in the Presence of Donald Trump!”

Author: Jonathan Leslie

PhD candidate at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

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