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.

 

Tunisia votes for president in final leg of democratic transition

Barzani in Mount Sinjar after end of jihadist siege

Egypt President removes powerful spy chief

UAE blames 'irresponsible' non-OPEC output for oil price plunge

Turkey TV regulator fines popular show over ‘dance with foreigners’

Coalition targets ‘Islamic State’ in areas north of Aleppo

Libya Islamist-backed government urges foreigners to return to Tripoli

Palestinians enter Egypt as Rafah crossing reopens for two days

Davutoglu accuses EU of 'dirty campaign' against Turkey

Raid on terrorists accidentally kills Saudi youth in Awamiya town

Egypt sentences ‘spy for Israel’ to ten years in prison

Jordan ends eight-year moratorium on death penalty

Turkey acquits sociologist over 1998 explosion

EU foreign affairs head to visit Iraq

Turkey court remands Samanyolu TV chief in custody

IS threatens to kill Lebanese soldiers held hostage

Obama concerned about Egypt mass trials

Tough times for oil-rich GCC

Tumbling oil prices cut budgets of Mideast arms exporters

Iraq’s peshmerga ‘break’ Mount Sinjar siege

Turkish media chiefs charged with terrorism

Iraq may delay payment of Kuwait war reparations

Over $900 million needed to help Syria children

Saudi rules out oil output reduction

Dutch populist lawmaker to be tried for 'fewer Moroccans' vow

Outrage in Algeria over Islamist call for Algerian author's death

Iraq Kurds, coalition launch offensive to retake Sinjar

Three years to end Israeli occupation in UN resolution

Yemen’s Huthis seize Sanaa state offices

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide

UK troops mistreated Iraq detainees in 2004

Saudi to carry on massive public spending

Iran to Australia: We warned you about the gunman

From bikini to Jihad in Ceuta, Melilla

Tunisia votes Sunday in second round of presidential poll

Islamist militias launch air strike near key Libyan oil terminals

Egypt refers 312 Islamists to military courts

Turkey rejects EU criticism over media arrests

Kerry meets chief Palestinian negotiator

Saudi cleric sparks uproar for showing wife’s face

15,000 march against country’s ‘Islamisation’ in eastern Germany

Key oil producers face uncertain outlook in 2015