Tawdry US cam­paign a gift for Iran hard­lin­ers

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

For hard­lin­ers in Iran, run­ning down the United States has be­come a lot eas­ier dur­ing the US elec­tion cam­paign-it’s just a mat­ter of turn­ing on the tele­vi­sion. From the flurry of sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against Don­ald Trump to Hil­lary Clin­ton’s leaked emails, the un­savoury cam­paign has been lapped up in Iran, par­tic­u­larly by those who re­main staunchly op­posed to closer ties with the West. For the first time, Ira­nian au­thor­i­ties al­lowed the last head-to-head de­bate be­tween the two can­di­dates to be aired live on tele­vi­sion.

Per­haps not with­out co­in­ci­dence, state TV has also been play­ing a dubbed ver­sion of hit US show “House of Cards” (re­named “Khaneh Poushaly” or “House of Straw”), which de­picts the Wash­ing­ton belt­way as a den of greed, schem­ing and mur­der. The supreme leader, Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, even joined the Twit­ter con­ver­sa­tion dur­ing the third de­bate, writ­ing: “US pres­i­den­tial race and is­sues two can­di­dates raised is a typ­i­cal re­sult of lack of spir­i­tu­al­ity and faith among those in power.”

It is all mu­sic to the ears of con­ser­va­tives in Iran, who fear last year’s nu­clear ac­cord with world pow­ers may open the door to West­ern in­flu­ences and un­der­mine the 1979 Is­lamic rev­o­lu­tion. Re­la­tions be­tween Iran and the United States have been deeply trou­bled since di­plo­matic ties were bro­ken after the rev­o­lu­tion, and Ira­nian con­ser­va­tives have de­fined the coun­try pri­mar­ily in op­po­si­tion to Wash­ing­ton, which they call “The Great Satan”.

‘Weak­ness of US democ­racy’

Hamidreza Taraghi, a lead­ing mem­ber of the con­ser­va­tive Is­lamic Coali­tion Party, said this year’s elec­tion cam­paign has “ridiculed” US pol­i­tics. “That this process can pro­duce can­di­dates who are so cor­rupt and un­bal­anced, men­tally and in­tel­lec­tu­ally, shows the weak­ness of Amer­i­can democ­racy,” he said. Taraghi said it proved the value of Iran’s Guardian Coun­cil which dis­qual­i­fies thou­sands of can­di­dates be­fore elec­tions, al­though Ira­nian re­formists com­plain the Coun­cil’s de­ci­sions are skewed against them. — AFP

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