First Published: 2012-11-08

 

Ahmadinejad: US polls a battleground for capitalists

 

Iranian President says US election has become battleground for capitalists, excuse for hefty spending.

 

Middle East Online

By Angela Dewan and Arlina Arshad - NUSA DUA, Indonesia

'Democracy has turned into the rule of a minority over the majority'

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Thursday dismissed US elections as a "battleground for the capitalists", a day after Barack Obama's re-election.

Ahmadinejad, whose own 2009 disputed re-election sparked protests that were brutally crushed, told a forum in Bali island intended to promote democracy that the Western system meant only the wealthy few held power.

At the start of the two-day Bali Democracy Forum, attended by leaders including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Iranian president criticised the situation in Europe and the US.

"An election, which is one of the manifestations of the people's will, has become a battleground for the capitalists, and an excuse for hefty spending," he said.

An estimated $6 billion was spent in US federal races, making the 2012 general election the most expensive poll in American history, experts have said.

Ahmadinejad, who did not comment directly on Obama's victory over his Republican rival Mitt Romney, added that "democracy has turned into the rule of a minority over the majority".

He said problems continued "even in countries who claim to be the forerunners of democracy".

"Slavery, colonialism and rights abuses continue to be imposed on human beings," he said, without singling out any countries in particular for criticism.

Iran is regularly criticised for its own human rights record, such as the high number of executions.

The president, whose country's disputed nuclear programme has led to crippling international sanctions, made only passing reference to nuclear activities.

"Today there is the development of some weapons even more dangerous than atomic arms," he said without elaborating.

The West claims that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb but Iran says its nuclear drive is purely for peaceful purposes.

It is the first time that Iran has attended the democracy gathering, now in its fifth year. Critics say the Islamic republic is seeking to use the meeting to combat its growing isolation as UN and European Union sanctions bite.

Attending the summit "fits in perfectly with the Iranian government strategy of building bridges" with countries outside the West, Amnesty International Iran researcher Drewery Dyke said.

Indonesia, a moderate Muslim-majority country, has maintained strong ties with the Islamic republic.

Iran is currently chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, a grouping of 120 countries, and in August hosted a meeting of the group that it trumpeted as a triumph over the West's attempts to isolate it.

Other high-profile participants at the Bali meeting include Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

There is tight security for the event, which has in the past attracted few top names, with some 2,300 police deployed to guard key areas.

The resort island last month held 10th anniversary commemorations for the October 12, 2002 nightclub bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

 

Iraqi PM urged Kurdistan to drop any plans for independence

Erdogan threatens to send millions of refugees to EU

Moscow ready to discuss modalities of ceasefire in Syria

Train derails in Egypt’s Bani Sueif province

Iran making fresh pitch for tourists

Russia accuses US planes of hitting Aleppo

Anti-ISIS coalition looks to decisive new phase

Turkey, Israel open new normalisation talks

Assault on Aleppo displaces tens of thousands

Moroccan King inaugurates Aquaculture Farm in Oued Ed-dahab

Turkish forces end operation in southern town

NATO launches unprecedented Aegean migrant naval mission

Suspected PKK militants attack two Turkey pro-govt newspapers

Iranians mark 37 years since Islamic revolution

Egypt hires UK firm to review Sharm security

Tunisia makes $500 million from assets of ousted president

Turkey dismisses pressure to open borders as 'hypocritical'

Efforts to form Libya unity government stumble over defence portfolio

Iran blames failure of Syria peace talks on participation of ‘terrorists’

Syria opposition hopes for end of sieges

UAE names women state ministers in major government shake-up

French Foreign Minister steps down with criticism of US role in Syria

Germany hopes Syria talks in Munich will agree to provide aid

Syrian Kurdish separatists open Moscow representation

Jordan rejects France extradition request for 1982 terror attack suspects

Libya parliament extends deadline for formation of new unity government

Herzog wants Israel to begin separation from Palestinian areas

Khomeini grandson loses appeal against exclusion from Iran elections

Turkey, US split deepens over support for Syria Kurds

EU tells members to accelerate refugee relocation

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince in India: String of trade, security deals expected

Syria regime's Aleppo offensive kills more than 500

Ex-Israeli PM’s prison sentence extended

Turkey summons US envoy over Syria Kurds row

Unstable dam affecting Mosul recapture

Jihadist attacks bring Egypt's tourist industry to its knees

‘Hell’ falling on Aleppo

Enormous challenges emerge after full liberation of Ramadi

Hamas fighter dies in latest tunnel collapse

Aleppo siege spells trouble for the West

Egypt policeman jailed for beating vet to death

How many civilians are living under 'surrender or starve' sieges in Syria?

NATO to consider policing refugee crisis

Iran deal will delay bomb up to 15 years

Top spy warns homegrown extremists pose biggest danger to US