11/06/2008, 00.00
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Barack Obama, the Iranian government’s new threat

Tehran blames the Democratic Party for starting sanctions against Iran. Some critics see Obama’s victory as evidence of the failure of Bush’s foreign policy. Others suggest the Iranian regime will be weakened since it no longer has the American enemy to beat on.
Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Barack Obama and his foreign policy are a threat to Iran. His approach might differ from President Bush’s bankrupt foreign policy, as demonstrated by the Republican Party’s clear defeat at the polls, but it can still constitute a danger. In principle he might even convince fence-sitters such as India, China, Turkey, Malaysia and Russia that have important economic and commercial ties with Iran, to synchronise their Iran policies with a revamped United States policy based on mediation and dialogue, this according to early comments by Iranian leaders and analysts on Barack Obama’s election victory.

“There is the thought that Obama could be as dangerous as Bush, but in a different way,” said Abolfazl Amouei, a conservative-leaning political scientist at Imam Sadeq University in Tehran, because in “Iran, Democrats don't have a good reputation. They were the first ones who started the sanctions under President Clinton.”

Overall reactions in Iranian government circles to the US elections are cautious; they view results as a repudiation of the Bush administration.

“The American people have to change their policies in order to get rid of the quagmire made by President Bush for them,” said Gholam Ali Hadded Adel, a senior advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. “The next US president should abandon the course taken by President Bush so far,” he told Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

Iran will be one of the thorniest foreign policy issues that Obama will face. Doubts are already emerging with regards to the comment he made during the campaign that he would meet unconditionally with Iranian leaders whilst cooperating and defending Israel.

For some inside Iran the victory of the senator from Illinois represents an opportunity to weaken the power of President Ahmadinejad in favour of a more pragmatic government, willing to come to some agreement on the nuclear programme issue.

“Radicals aren't happy about Obama's victory,” said Saeed Leylaz, a Tehran analyst and newspaper editor often critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.

In the meantime the Iranian government yesterday issued a new warning against the United Sates saying that it would no longer tolerate violations of Iran’s air space.

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