Jun 12, 2009 4:00 pm


Roula Khalaf of the Financial Times reports:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has often backed Mr Ahmadi-Nejad's approach, has taken notice. Last week he responded to the criticism by insisting the"honour of the nation" was"reflected in the world".

"I do not accept the sayings of those who imagine that our nation has become belittled in the world be-cause of its commitment to its principles," he said."This path will continue until final victory."

In other words, it's time that leading Western diplomats like Miliband, and Clinton end their naive notion that the Supreme leader is looking for" change."

Ahmadinejad is telling voters that Iran in no longer a mere regional power but a superpower. Indeed, it is ready to help run the world:

Thanks to the dedication of the armed forces, Iran is ready to participate extensively in running the world and in establishing security and justice in various parts of the world.

. . . as a major power, Iran is playing a leading role in the global decision-making process. . . . (Iran is) the final victor in all topics on the agenda, and that as long as the Iranian nation obeys Islam and Islamic religious law, it will accomplish its goals.

Not so, argued his rival presidential candidates. Ahmadinejad criticized his foreign policy isolated Iran and undermined it's image:

"I see no country in the world lonelier than our country," says Mir-Hossein Moussavi, the reformist-backed candidate and former prime minister. . . .

"In foreign policy we have undermined the dignity of our country and created problems for our development," Mr Moussavi said.

"Our nation does not approve of a foreign policy that demotes our position in the world and embarrasses Iranians," he recently told voters."You have pushed us to a place that our passports are downgraded to [the level] of a country like Somalia," he said of Mr Ahmadi-Nejad. . . .

"Have we reached a place in the world where we defend Hitler?" lamented Mr Karroubi. Even Mohsen Rezaei, the only conservative running against Mr Ahmadi-Nejad and expected to attract some of the radical votes that might otherwise have gone to the president, has taken issue with foreign policy."The Holocaust is a historical issue . . . To prove its occurrence or denial is none of our business," he says.

Secretary Clinton told Stephanapolis that Obama did not answer Ahmadinejad's letter because of the upcoming elections. The truth is that his assertion that the US agrees that Iran has the right to peaceful nuclear energy enabled Ahmadinejad to declare victory:

During his April 2009 visit to China, Ahmadinejad's vice president Parviz Davoudi reiterated Ahmadinejad's statements, saying that in his estimation,"the U.S. is coming to terms with Iran being nuclear, since it already came to terms with Iran's nuclearization process, and [Iran is] now worthy to discuss important global issues together with the 5+1." [3]

Basij commander Hossein Taab said that following the fall of the Soviet Union, only two powers remain in the world - the U.S. and Iran - and both want to lead the world. He added,"The U.S. has military strength, but cannot pull the trigger." [4]

At a press conference in late May 2009, Ahmadinejad announced that following Iran's June 12 presidential election, talks with the U.S. would continue in the framework of the 5+1, but not on the nuclear issue, because this issue"had already been resolved." He added:"We continue our activities within framework of [International Atomic Energy] Agency regulations. At any rate, negotiations will be merely over world management and sustainable peace and security for entire nations; the Iranian nation will not permit anyone to enter into talks with us [on subjects] outside the regulations of the [IAEA]." [5]

At a May 29, 2009 meeting with Iranian academics, Ahmadinejad said:"The Americans keep sending us messages for negotiation. We are ready to (hold) talks and cooperate. Of course, we are ready to cooperate in global management, global disarmament, and resolving global problems under equal conditions… I should say that Iran’s nuclear issue has been resolved and it is over." [6]

With enemies like the Obama administration, who needs friends? It is a small wonder that disenchanted Iranians like Obama's America less than Bush's America. At least Bush talked the democratic talk even if he did not walk the walk, the Obama administration does not even talk the talk.

Elitot Abrams is also worried that an Ahmadinejad defeat would lead the administration to fool itself:

Voting in Iran is a contrivance for settling certain policy disputes and personal rivalries within the ruling elite. Elections are not without meaning; if Mr. Ahmadinejad loses, it may result in more sensible economic policies and fewer loud calls for the destruction of Israel. But Iran doesn’t hold elections for supreme leader — Ayatollah Ali Khameini will hold that post for the indefinite future — and the failed presidency of Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005 reminds us that the power of a putative reformist is illusory. The Khatami years saw increased repression inside Iran, growing support for Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist groups, and the covert construction of the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s defeat would probably be welcomed abroad as a sign that Iran is moving away from his policies, but Iran’s policies aren’t his — they are dictated by Ayatollah Khamenei and his supporters in the Revolutionary Guard and Basij paramilitary. In fact, a victory by Mr. Ahmadinejad’s main challenger, Mir Hussein Moussavi, is more likely to change Western policy toward Iran than to change Iran’s own conduct. If the delusion that a new president would surely mean new opportunities to negotiate away Iran’s nuclear program strikes Western leaders, solidarity might give way to pre-emptive concessions.

For similar reasons, Dan Pipes finds himself Rooting for Ahmadinejad

Also see, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Clashes with Presidential Candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in Televised Debate

Iran's Potemkin Election Only candidates vetted by the ruling clerics have been allowed to stand.

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