The US election: A threat to Iran?

On November 6th, the next president of America will be chosen, a choice which could either solidify relations with Iran or damage them.

The accusations US has made against Iran for its nuclear programme has left trust between the two nations heavily frayed.  In Imam Khamenei’s speech about Iran’s relationship with America, he condemns Barack Obama and the American government for insulting the Islamic republic of Iran and claiming that for all Obama’s talk of change his government does not relent in the persecution of Iran. “If you are right and there is change, where is the change? Why can we not see this change?” he said.

Iran has strengthened its ties to the countries in South America, as reported by Steven Stanek of The National both in trade and military factions causing the US to feel its authority in the Western Hemisphere threatened. Whether Romney or Obama is elected, it is highly unlikely the American government would accept such competition.

Iranian Governmental officials have been reported to be against Obama winning if he continues to do what they see as pandering to Israel’s insecurities of their place in the east. As reported in the New York Times by Aaron David Miller “President Obama’s Iran policy has been taken hostage  this election year pandering to Israel/pro Israel community in America”  They see Romney as the lesser evil because if elected, it would take him more time to establish himself to his allies as well as organising the National security, therefore proceedings to attack Iran would take months. Despite this if Romney is elected, his policies could drastically increase the tension between the US and Iran. Which is why some members of Iran’s Government  preference Obama to be elected as Iranian Journalist Naeim Karimi said ” Iranians generally favour Democrats as Obama’s methods are more “soft” and he has more “doves” than “hawks” in his team.  But they are sceptical anything American.”

The difference between Obama’s and Romney’s stances on Iran’s nuclear development is that former impressed that he would never let Iran create a nuclear weapon, the latter emphasised he was against Iran developing any nuclear capability at all.

BBC news: US and Canada, has clearly described Romney’s stance on Iran possessing Nuclear capabilities as ” presents a clear military threat to Iran; would send Navy ships to patrol the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf; calls for more sanctions; would publicly back Iranian opposition groups ” and Obama’s stance on the same topic as “determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon; opposes a near-term military strike by US or Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities; emphasises need for a diplomatic solution but warns “that window is closing”

During Romney’s first debate with Barack Obama, he didn’t make any statements that suggest any changes to foreign policy and his views on the subject seemed similar to that of Obamas. However considering the issue of Iran’s development of Nuclear energy Romney has stated that it would be “unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon” and that in order to prevent this he would use further economic sanctions to put pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear programme. Whilst Obama has expressed similar sentiments, he presented with less  extremism as Romney has not denied considering supporting Israel if the Israeli government decided to execute a military strike, even to the point of claiming it the Jewish states’ right, whilst Obama has urged Israel not to attack Iran, hoping for a more diplomatic solution.

The Iranian government’s long history when dealing with the US has given them plenty of reasons to be wary of what could happen once a president is elected.  However the US government’s fear of another country developing nuclear weapons is a reasonable one, since peaceful talks between the two countries have not been solidified yet, the threat of a nuclear attack is not unimaginable.

Allen L. Keiswetter from The Middle East Institute says that “a second Obama Administration could be in a position to consider a broader deal…an acknowledgement of Iran’s right to enrich to a limited degree (3.5–5 percent) in return for Iranian acceptance of stringent monitoring and inspections” It is because of this that Iran has accepted further meetings to discuss the levels of uranium they are allowed to develop during April next year.

In the meantime the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that Israel regards Iran as “threat to world peace” according to BBC news. Israel’s ally, the US has put sanctions against Iran’s central bank, oil revenues and financial system causing a rapid decline in the value of Iranian currency.

The public of Iran and Iraq have expressed a long burning animosity towards the United States, how their governments feel about the election will differ because Iraq is currently reliant on its good relationship with America. After a nine year war which has left the country’s economy and government in ruins, their new alliance with the US is Iraq’s main pillar of support. The US Government has been aiding Iraq in its military functions and other areas such as military weapons, education, giving Iraqi student easy access to American universities. However there have been various instances such as Iraq helping Iran skirt around “the sanctions” the US has placed on Iran according to James Risen from the New York Times as well as refusing to deny Iran use of Iraqi airspace. With such frequent acts it is apparent that Iraq is not too keen on going back to the days of being Iran’s enemy.

The relationship between Iran and Iraq after a long history of war and discord has of since the end of the US occupation of Iraq been cordial and walking forward to a new age of peace, however the connection both countries have to the US could damage the new bond,  the frequent accusations made by the American government against Iran. If the President of America, whoever he may be, doesn’t form peaceful relations with Iran, it could disrupt the harmony not only between the two nations but also between the frail newly made peace between Iran and Iraq.

It is difficult to tell based on the two candidate’s policies alone if a media witch hunt will become a war. If Iran is backed into a corner, threatened by Israel and the US, with no support from its neighbour Iraq, the next president will have to consider whether or not the US can politically or economically afford another war.


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