Sun, Nov 14, 2010 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Iran: Democrats’ Defeat In the U.S. Midterm Elections Reflects Failure of U.S. Policy
Iran: Democrats’ defeat reflects failure of U.S. policy, weakness of American administration
This week, Iranian top officials and media extensively reported on the Democratic Party’s defeat in the U.S. midterm elections, taking it as a reflection of President Obama’s weakness and the failure of his [Middle East] policy.
In an interview given to Mehr News Agency, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki argued that, after the Democrats’ defeat, the U.S. is entering a difficult time as far as domestic politics, economy, and foreign policy are concerned. It was his opinion that the election results represented a defeat for the Democrats rather than a victory for the Republicans. When President Obama entered office, Mottaki said, he offered hope for the U.S. and the rest of the world; that hope, however, was short-lived. He proved unable to gain the trust of the American public and improve the international standing of the U.S., while the country could not surmount the challenges facing it on the international scene (Mehr, November 5).
Majles speaker Ali Larijani also addressed the U.S. election results, saying that the Democrats’ failure was the result of the erroneous and double-faced policy of the American administration in the U.S. and elsewhere. At the opening of this week’s Majles session, Larijani said that the erroneous policy was reflected in human rights violations by the U.S. across the globe, in crimes committed by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, in America’s ongoing cooperation with the “Zionist regime”, and in the administration’s involvement in terrorist attacks across the globe (Fars, November 7).
According to the conservative daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami, the Democrats’ defeat will become a turning point in political and social developments in the U.S. People did not vote for the Republicans, the daily claimed—their votes expressed the American public’s anger at the Democrats. It was the daily’s assessment that following the Democratic Party’s defeat, it may well find itself having to choose another presidential candidate for the 2012 elections (Jomhuri-ye Eslami, November 7).
The conservative daily Resalat addressed the impact of the midterm elections on U.S. policy towards Iran, claiming that Obama repeated the mistakes made by his predecessors regarding foreign policy towards Iran. Instead of recognizing Iran’s strength in the Middle East and attempting to reach a settlement with it, Obama continued the battle against it, trying to use diplomacy as part of America’s continuing anti-Iranian policy. Obama was hoping to solve the regional problems and take a different approach towards Iran, but was soon forced to yield to the heavy pressure exerted on him by extremist Republican circles and the “Zionist lobby”. In the next two years, the Republican majority in the Congress will likely vote for escalating the sanctions on Iran and step up pressure on the president to continue his erroneous policy towards Iran. If the U.S. president continues yielding to the pressure in the next two years, Resalat says, he will be defeated in the next presidential elections. The U.S. policy on the Middle East requires some fundamental changes, and President Obama must abandon the policy followed by the U.S. towards Iran for the past 31 years (Resalat, November 8).
The daily Keyhan focused on the weakness of the American administration. In an editorial that discussed violations of human rights in the U.S., the daily reported that, on the eve of President Obama’s visit to several Asian countries, thousands of human rights activists demonstrated in New York in protest of his policy. He was met with similar protests in India and will probably be met with such protests during his visit to Indonesia. On top of its bankrupt and sick economy, the article says, the U.S. is facing a wave of Islamic awakening and no longer enjoys prestige and elevated status among the world’s nations. America has become a scarecrow that no longer frightens anyone (Keyhan, November 7).
Another article published in Keyhan this week says that if President Obama wants to avoid defeat in the next presidential elections, he has two options: first, he must focus on solving domestic issues that are the primary cause of concern for American voters; second, he must solve the foreign policy issues facing him. Maintaining hostility towards Iran and becoming a clone of former president George Bush will do nothing for the U.S. president’s political future. At any rate, the article says, the defeat of yet another of Iran’s enemies is a happy occasion, and all the more so because Iran played an important part in the defeat (Keyhan, November 8).
The reformist daily Mardom Salari, however, expressed concern over the increasing power of the Republicans, claiming that there are certain differences between them and the Democrats as far as foreign policy issues are concerned. The daily claimed that Zionist right-wing parties were the happiest about the Democrats’ defeat. Prime Minister Netanyahu has good friends among the Republicans in the Congress, and he might use them to exert pressure on the White House to change its policy towards Iran or even push for a military option. According to Mardom Salari, the Republicans will now force Obama to take unpredictable measures, and the White House will be influenced by the “aroma of tea” (a reference to the Tea Party) (Mardom Salari, November 9).