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.

 

‘Intense awareness of interests’ but no ‘perfect agreement between Egypt and US

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

Iraq TV comedian combats jihadists with laughs

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS