Iran Says Elections Don't Matter, US Policy Set by ‘Zionist Lobby’
Iran said Sunday said that the US presidential elections make no difference because the nation's policies are set by special-interest groups and especially the "Zionist lobby."
The remarks come two days ahead of the contest between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush amid widespread anger here over US support for the Israelis during the latest bloodshed in the Middle East.
"It's not the political parties but the multinationals and the lobbies, especially the Zionist lobby, which make American policy," state radio said in an official commentary dismissing the elections.
The press also had little good to say about Tuesday's vote, with the governmental daily Iran headlining its Sunday edition with: "100 Million Americans Will Not Vote."
The pro-reform Hayat-e No paper, pointing out the sharp rise in mudslinging in the last week of the campaign, commented: "Here's where they are -- denouncing each other!"
A government source who asked not to be named told AFP that the election would also have little immediate impact on relations between Washington and Tehran, which were broken off in 1980 after the hostage-taking at the US embassy here.
"The United States, whether led by a Republican of Democrat, knows the conditions for a reopening of dialogue: first of all, it means an end to sanctions against Iran. And neither candidate has mentioned it," he said.
However, Bush's running mate Dick Cheney, a former defense secretary, called for a lifting of the Iran embargo as head of the Halliburton Company, a leading oil field services conglomerate. He has declined to reiterate the position as a vice presidential hopeful.
A Western diplomat said that, despite Washington's lifting of sanctions in April on some non-oil Iranian products such as pistachios and carpets, the latest Middle East crisis stands in the way.
"Any reopening is now compromised by the serious crisis in the Middle East," he said. "Tehran holds itself as the chief defender of Palestinian rights ... This is the wrong moment for any contact."
Political analyst Dariush Abdali says that, despite the official indifference, George W. Bush is probably the preferred candidate because his Republican party has been regarded here as "less hypocritical" since the 1970s.
"The Republicans are seen as less hypocritical, more pragmatic and more flexible for business than the Democrats," he said.
"It's been that way since the time of the shah, the golden age of Iran-US relations under (Republican) President Richard Nixon," he said, adding that the tenure of his Democrat successor, Jimmy Carter, was a "catastrophe."
"Iran even accused him of pushing Iraq to attack in Iran in September 1980," Abdali says, when the two neighbors began a brutal eight-year war that left thousands dead on both sides.
Analyst Iraj Rashti says: "The election can only have a very limited impact on relations."
Thousands of Iranians demonstrated in front of the former US embassy on Friday to mark the 21st anniversary of the hostage taking that spelled an end to Iran-US ties.
The former "nest of spies" was decorated with banners featuring the words of the Islamic republic's founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: "We will fight against America until our very last breath" -- TEHRAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)