Middle East Media Research Institute
Tehran’s official position is that is has no preference for either Republicans or Democrats in the U.S., and that Washington must essentially change its positions vis-à-vis Iran. Indeed, in its first reaction to the election outcome, the regime mouthpiece Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was dismissive, claiming that President Obama’s reelection heralds no change in U.S. policy.
At the same time, reformist circles not represented in the regime published articles both prior to and following the election indicating that they wanted Obama to win.
Nonetheless, cautious initial reactions by senior Iranian regime officials indicate that Tehran is considering its steps vis-à-vis Obama’s declared desire and intent to launch direct negotiations with Tehran.
The following are excerpts from initial reactions in Iran to Obama’s reelection.
Cautious Response To Obama’s Declared Intent To Launch Direct Negotiations
On November 7, 2012, Mohammad Javad Larijani, judiciary authority official and head of Iran’s Human Rights Council, said: “If the interests of the [Iranian] regime demand it, we will negotiate with America, even from the deepest depths of Hell.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, as the election results were coming in, that Tehran would judge the U.S. according to its deeds, not according to its words: “Any evaluation of the promise of change will be based on the actual policy and performance of U.S. officials.” He added that only practical and fundamental steps by Washington – including honoring Iran’s rights and changing its mistaken policy – would be able to restore the Iranian nation’s confidence in the U.S. He also said that the election results show that the American people want a president who will shun extremism and will attempt to improve the U.S.’s economic situation.
“The truth is that people in the Muslim world and Middle East are still waiting for the realization of the U.S. president’s promises,” he said.
He added that the U.S. would only be able to restore its credibility in the region if it adopted a new approach based on non-intervention in the domestic affairs of the countries in the region.
Cartoon In Fars In Reaction To Obama Reelection
Kayhan: Obama Has Nothing New To Say To Iran – Or To Most Of The World
At an international conference in Bali, Indonesia, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on November 8 that elections in the West “have turned into the scene for the propaganda campaign of the capitalists and huge expenses and many independent, decent and efficient figures do not get the chance to participate in ruling [their countries].”
Judiciary head Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said that the Iranian people would never forget the crimes of Obama’s sanctions.
Kayhan expressed its disdain for Obama’s reelection with its November 8 front-page headline: “Mr. Change Is Here Again, Four More Years Without Change.” In its editorial that day, the paper stated that as far as the American voters were concerned, the election was between “bad and worse.”
At the same time, it predicted that the impact of the Zionist lobby in the U.S. was about to lessen, because relations between Netanyahu and Obama in the past year had been unprecedentedly tense.
The paper wrote: “Obama is too weak to solve the important challenges: the Palestinian question and the security of the occupying regime, the Islamic awakening, and the Iranian challenge… Obama is the same weak Bush. The America of 2012 is the same America of 2001, that has lost its value. The sum total of the [U.S.’s] crimes during Obama’s term is no less than that during the Bush term. The traces of the U.S. and its serial crimes can be spotted in all the crises in the region – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. It suffered great defeats in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine…
“Obama and his administration have nothing new to say – not only to Iran but also to most of the countries of the world, and to Europe as well.”
Reformists: Rejoicing With Obama
On its front page on November 8, the reformist daily Mardomsalari congratulated Obama on his win: “The Keys to the White House Remain In Democratic Hands… The Warmongers Are Defeated.”
A November 6, 2012 op-ed in the reformist daily Etemaad listed the advantages to Iran of an Obama reelection, noting that “Romney emits a scent of war, [while] from Obama there arises a melody of paying attention to the economic agenda.” The op-ed went on to state: “The [re]election of Obama will be a nightmare for the right-wingers in Israel, particularly for Netanyahu… [because] Obama has had the worst relationship in recent years with the occupying regime.” Praising Obama’s policy vis-à-vis the Arab Spring, it noted: “It was the talent of the Democrats that they adapted to the changes in North Africa, particularly in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya,” and added that “Had the Republicans been in the White House, their strategy regarding these changes in the Arab [world] would have been different.” The op-ed also noted Obama’s “wise strategy” in his two-pronged policy in managing the Syrian crisis – while he opposed the Syrian regime, it said, he did not act firmly against it, as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey demanded, due to his fear of a rise of Salafi circles.
Also on November 6, the traditional/conservative daily Tehran-e Emrooz expressed apprehension about the possible election of Mitt Romney in its November 6 editorial. Under the title “The U.S. Returns to Unilateralism?” the paper stated that Romney was likely to revive this policy, in contrast to the multi-polar policy promoted by Obama.