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US Capitol riots: Iran mocks American democracy, calls it 'fragile' and weak

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Trump's election allowed seeds of populism to grow in US
Rouhani delivered a speech on Thursday broadcasted by state television.
Rouhani delivered speech broadcast by state television on Thursday (AFP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani mocked the chaos unleashed on the US Capitol by President Donald Trump's supporters and said it exposed the fragility of Western democracy.

"What we saw in the United States yesterday evening and today shows above all how fragile and vulnerable Western democracy is," Rouhani said in a speech on Thursday broadcast by state television.

"We saw that unfortunately, the ground is fertile for populism, despite the advances in science and industry.

"A populist has arrived and he has led his country to disaster over these past four years."

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On Wednesday, hundreds of Trump supporters stormed a session of Congress that was certifying President-elect Joe Biden's election win.

Earlier in the day, Trump told a large rally near the White House to "not give up the fight" and repeated his false claim that he won November's election.

"We will never give up. We will never concede," Trump said.

"It will never happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore."

As Trump's supporters massed outside the US Capitol, an angry mob broke away and forced their way into the building - reaching as far as the House floor - in an attempt to interrupt Congress's count of electoral votes to certify Biden's win.

Law enforcement drew their firearms inside the House chamber, appearing to point them at demonstrators outside the door leading into the room.

One Trump supporter was shot dead by police, and three people died of "medical emergencies", according to the city's police department.

National Guard troops were later deployed and a citywide curfew was imposed.

'Limping on both feet'

In his speech, Rouhani also urged the incoming Biden administration "to make up (for the past) and restore the country to a position worthy of the American nation, because the American nation is a great nation".

"May they return to reason, legality and their obligations. It's for their own benefit and the good of the world," he said.

In addition to Rouhani, several other world leaders used the opportunity to issue scathing critiques of the US and its attempts to promote democracy and human rights overseas.

"The US is not as safe as China, right? I think Trump is a self-righteous and selfish person,” Chinese financial adviser Yang Ming said.

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Konstantin Kosachyov, the chair of the Russian upper house's foreign affairs committee, said American democracy was "limping on both feet".

"The celebration of democracy has ended. It has, unfortunately, hit rock bottom, and I say this without a hint of gloating," he said in a post on Facebook on Thursday.

Several US allies have held Trump personally responsible, but said they believed American democratic institutions would withstand the turmoil.

What we are now seeing from Washington is a completely unacceptable attack on democracy in the United States," said Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

"President Trump is responsible for stopping this. Scary pictures, and amazing that this is the United States."

"Disgraceful scenes in US Congress," tweeted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has had a cordial relationship with the president.

"The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power."

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