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Iran Votes for Obama - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iran announced via its ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, that it is considering the possibility of reviewing its uranium enrichment program, as long as there is an international consensus guaranteeing Iran access to nuclear fuel on a constant basis. The seriousness of Iran’s claim was met with international skepticism , especially when the French Foreign Ministry pointed out that this same proposal was made by the 5 + 1 group (UN Security Council + Germany), while French sources called for caution regarding Soltanieh’s statement, lest he be merely just testing the waters.

Of course nobody can guarantee the sincerity of Iran’s intentions, but those that follow the course of Iranian current events and patterns, not to mention the conduct of its allies in the region, specifically Hamas and Hezbollah, may feel that by making such a statement the Iranians are trying to pursue their interests with regards to the American Presidential elections, and nothing more.

With the US elections fast approaching, the debates on electoral issues between Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama intensify, turning the issue of Iran and its Nuclear program to something of a punching bag, especially after Obama’s revelation that were he to become President of the United States negotiations with Iran would be a possibility. And so any Iranian threat or escalation would make life harder for the Democrats, and enhance the changes of the Republican McCain, whose presidency would clash with the interests of Iran.

The result of this is an Iranian commitment to calm for the next two months, and the withdrawal of any pretext of turning Iran into a political football to be kicked between the two Presidential hopefuls, which can be interpreted as an Iranian endorsement for Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

At this juncture it is important to recall the statement made by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, in New York recently; when he said relations between Washington and Tehran cannot be improved until changes to U.S. foreign policy are implemented after the election of a new President. Indeed Mottaki said that changes in U.S. foreign policy must aim not only to open the door to countries in the Middle East, but to other countries in the world too. This means an open-door policy to Iran, although Tehran has accused anyone with ties to Washington of dependency and subordination, yet today Mottaki wants Washington to turn it’s attentions to Iran.

With the overwhelming economic crisis on the minds of the American voters, all McCain needs to strengthen his position is the emergence of any sign of danger to American national security. The easiest way to achieve this is a new threat or escalation from Iran. Many U.S. analysts are talking about McCain’s need for a national security concern to replace the financial crisis issue in the news. This is what took place last time when Bin Laden released a speech on the eve of the presidential election, allowing George Bush to win a second term in office.

It appears that the Iranians are well aware of this, especially since we are just five weeks away from the US presidential elections, and we hope that they put more consideration into suspending their nuclear program then their Interior Minster did in obtaining his PhD.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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