Iran General NewsWorld opinion divided on Iran

World opinion divided on Iran


ImageAP: World reaction to the upheaval in Iran is cautious and divided, reflecting uncertainty over fast-moving events within the country after its disputed election.

The Associated Press


ImageISTANBUL (AP) — World reaction to the upheaval in Iran is cautious and divided, reflecting uncertainty over fast-moving events within the country after its disputed election.

International opinion is roughly divided between the Western line — a pro-democratic stance that implies or levels criticism at Iran's leadership — and economic allies, mostly among developing nations, that accept the election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Whatever the view, governments and commentators appear transfixed by the drama unfolding in Iran, where hundreds of thousands of supporters of pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi have challenged the old order in street protests unseen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Some democracies, including the U.S., have been cautious, calling for the will of the Iranian people to be respected without overtly taking a side. Others have scolded the Iranian leadership, condemning alleged vote-rigging and the harsh response of security forces to opposition rallies.

President Barack Obama has expressed "concern for the way the election was conducted and concern to ensure that demonstrators can peaceably carry out their demonstrations," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

In contrast, China, Venezuela and some other developing countries have tended to be supportive of the government in Iran, whose nuclear activities, alleged involvement in terrorism and influence in regional conflicts have alarmed the West for years.

Chinese state media reported that President Hu Jintao congratulated Ahmadinejad at a regional gathering in Russia earlier this week. Asked Thursday whether that indicated China accepted the election results as legitimate, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said only: "We respect the choice of the Iranian people."

Editorials in state media have chastised the U.S. for alleged intervention in Iranian politics.

"The international community, on its part, has to leave Iran's internal problems to the Iranian people, and accept their verdict," the official China Daily said in an editorial Thursday. China is keenly sensitive to outside criticism of its own authoritarian system.

Mindful of such accusations, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the Iranian people must choose their own leaders and that London would "not fall into the trap of allowing anyone to say that Britain or the United States is trying to choose the government of Iran."

London has a large Iranian population, and Mousavi supporters have held noisy protests outside the Iranian Embassy. But British politicians have steered clear of declaring either candidate the election winner.

"This is not a split between Iran and the West, these are deep debates, even divisions that are happening within Iran and in some ways within the upper reaches of the regime," Miliband said.

Israel, a longtime foe of Iran, has described the government there as repressive. But Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Thursday that there is a policy not to comment further on the situation in Iran, because "we don't want it to even appear that we have anything to do with what is going on there."

Some commentators have noted the complexities behind Iran's tumult.

The premise that Mousavi "is 'pro-USA or pro-Western' is not correct," Semih Idiz, a columnist in Turkey's Milliyet newspaper, wrote Thursday. He noted that Mousavi is a former prime minister and a staunch supporter of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"Reforms envisaged by Mousavi are reforms within the framework of the Islamic regime and do not reflect the social yearnings of the educated middle class. In short, Mousavi is not someone who would put the Islamic regime into danger," Idiz wrote.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered one of the West's strongest condemnations, calling Iran's behavior "unacceptable" and urging it to respect human rights and democracy.

Similarly, French President Nicolas Sarkozy denounced the Iranian government's "brutal" reaction to demonstrators protesting the disputed election.

Italy has said a months-old invitation for Iran to participate at a G-8 foreign ministers meeting in Trieste June 26-27 still stands despite the uncertainty over the election. World leaders hope Iran can contribute to the stabilization of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government this week alluded to the West in its criticism of "acts of interference in the internal affairs" of Iran.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva even compared postelection tensions to grousing football fans after a match.

"For now, it is a matter of flamenguistas and vascainos," he told the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, referring to rival Brazilian football fans of the Flamengo and Vasco da Gama clubs. "It is not the first country that holds an election in which someone wins and the loser protests."

In communist Cuba, state-controlled television and newspapers have provided extensive coverage of Ahmadinejad declaring electoral victory, and rallies supporting him. There has been no mention of massive opposition protests.

India, which has long maintained good relations with Tehran — in part due to long historical ties and partly due to India's energy dependence — has been silent on the elections in Iran.

One cartoon in the Geneva daily Le Temps took a wry view of Iran's upheaval. It showed Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and two other clerics watching television images of a demonstration, as a woman says: "It's the revolution."

Khamenei says in an aside, "I hate revolutions."

Latest news

To Stay in Power, Iran’s Regime Liquidates National Assets

For several decades, Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei has sold Iran's resources and wealth for the survival of...

Iran’s 2023 Budget Shrouded In Doubt

On January 22, the Majlis (parliament) approved the draft of the 2023 budget bill proposed by regime president Ebrahim...

Iran: People of Khoy Still Reeling From 5.9-Magnitude Earthquake

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck northwest Iran on Saturday, killing at least three people and injuring...

Iran’s Unsolvable Air Pollution Problem

Air pollution will remain at dangerous levels and will increase for the next few days in most big cities,...

The World Must Acknowledge the Iranian People’s Right to Self-defense

Victor Hugo once said: “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.” Throughout history, this has been the...

Iran: 60% Of Population Is Poor

The livelihood baskets of the Iranian people are shrinking dramatically. This, in turn, has introduced new concerns to protect...

Must read

Iran resumes gas exports to Turkey – report

Reuters: Iran resumed natural gas exports to Turkey on...

Arab leader to arrive in Iran on Friday for talks on Iraq

Iran Focus: London, Jul. 07 – The secretary general...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you