There are a number of presidential candidates from the two major political parties in the coming elections. Both, the Democrats and the Republicans are out to sell their manifestos and ideologies. Everyone is trying hard to gain as much votes as possible. One of the most striking issues that can be noticed in manifestos of most candidates is Iran.
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They are mainly concerned about Iranian nuclear weapon development program, involvement of the Gulf and Middle East countries in the conflict and Iran’s interest in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan (Newton-Small, 2012). American people are all interested in understanding how these politicians, if given a chance, will intend to address issues of Iran nuclear development, Iranian support of terrorism as alleged by American citizens and Iranian activities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Thus, this has led to candidates talking of their varied ways and methods of addressing the Iranian issue. Most republicans have criticized president Obama’s way of tackling the issue (Oppel, 2011).
American Attitudes and Feelings towards Iran That May Influence Voters during Voting
This concerns the political leader’s feelings towards Iran and how a common American citizen sees Iranians. Iran is an important issue that will affect voting trends in most American voters. Any candidate who shows the will to solve the Iranian problem will no doubt gain more votes. Some feelings of Americans towards Iran are discussed below.
To begin with, Americans feel Iran continues support terrorism and contribute to the development of problems in Syria, Israel and Lebanon. From Center for Strategic and International studies, it is clear that Iran supports violent enemies of Israel and those who oppose Israel’s existence. Furthermore, Iranians raise a lot of concern regarding the adventures in the Middle East. The United States department of state released report on terrorism concerning Iran.
In the statements, they claim that Iran was one of the countries where terrorism was highly developed and could be a potential threat to the USA. Most American people think and believe that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) are directly involved in direct planning and support terrorist activities in and out of our country.
Some of them feel Iran continues to exhort variety of groups, especially Palestine’s Hamas with leadership cadres in Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah, to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals (Associated Press, 2012). Furthermore, Iran continues to play a destabilizing role in Iraq. This issue of destabilizing Middle East appears inconsistent with the stated objectives regarding stability in Iraq. They also say Iran has provided guidance and training to select Iraq Shia political groups within.
They also supply weapons to Shia militia group to be used in anti-coalition attacks. Terrorism is a significant issue because it affects American economy directly, as it can be seen in event that happened on September 11 when the attacks in New York and DC happened. It leads to collapse of businesses and interruption of economic activities.
Relations with trading partners are destabilized by terrorism. Based on the mentioned above, a presidential candidate who will promise to tackle the issue well will definitely scoop a great number of votes in the coming elections.
In addition, Americans are concerned with the Iranian nuclear development program. They feel that Iran may use the weapons against Americans or supply the extremist groups. This is one of the most serious issues which have affected the United States in regard to Iranian relations. Nuclear development program issue has led to the following situation.
Americans think that military options can be used if diplomacy fails. Americans fear that Iran will continue to develop nuclear weapons even though it has been emphasized that it was for power generation. Americans feel that Iranians have a hidden agenda and motive behind their nuclear development program, other than power generation. This may not only endanger the Americans’ lives but also lives of people all over the world.
With development of nuclear weapons, Iran has been included into the list of countries with nuclear power. The United States and the International Unions have had meetings that always examined the Iranian issue of nuclear development as they wanted Iran to stop the nuclear weapon development. They earlier thought that Iran suspended this program, but their sources show that Iran still carries out these developments. What remains mysterious is the hidden agenda of Iranians behind their development of these nuclear weapons.
Americans speculate that the Islamic state has two primary interests. One is to protect its territorial integrity and Islamic regime. The second is to become a leading power in the region. Americans think they can influence and threaten the Iranian regime. This may result in the use of nuclear program against America and their allies to gain leverage in its relations with the world.
The different views by both countries on their activities create one of the most striking issues in voters’ mind; as they prepare to vote, they will no doubt cast their votes to the candidate who will promise to solve the problem in a way that promotes what they consider to be the best of their interests.
Thirdly, Iran’s broader role in the Gulf and MENA region has also raised major concerns in the Americans’ view of Iranians. They feel there is a new arm race in the Gulf region. Iran is seen to be importing advanced Russian arms and building long range missiles. The United States, on the other hand, is trying to ensure that there is limitation of arms sales and transfer of military technology to Iran almost regardless of near term negotiation.
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Lastly, Americans consider that Iranians do not approve their activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States recognize that Iran has vital national security interests in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has led to the United States expressing concerns about Iran providing arms and support to Shrite and Taliban elements in Afghanistan.
They have also noticed that terrorist, foreign fighters and former Iraq regime elements continue to find sanctuary in Iran. Current transit opportunities and logistical support in Syria are of a great concern to them. The United States insists that Iran should not back hostile or violent elements in either Iraq or Afghanistan and pursue its interests through a peaceful and politically acceptable manner.
Description of the President Obama’s and Rick Santorum’s Current Position on Iran
To start with President Obama’s tactics and opinion on solving the Iranian issue, it should be stated that he pledges his staunch support for Israel in his speeches. He does support the use of economic sanctions on Iran. Obama has tightened sanctions on Iran including its central bank. He seeks to increase pressure on the country’s economy (Associated Press, 2012). The president recently signed an executive order that implements parts of a new sanction on Iran.
However, Obama does not support extreme economic sanctions because he is conscious of international oil prices (US hits Iran with new sanctions, 2012). The order now allows the US institutions to freeze all property and interests of the Iranian government, central bank and its financial institutions. The president however does not support military strike on Iran by Israel.
He thinks this would be counterproductive because it would drive global oil prices boosting demand for Irans oil and helping offset the impact of sanctions against its economy. Furthermore, president wants to use diplomatic and economic pressure instead of military incursion.
This tactic is different from that of the former US President, George Bush, who deployed his military in Afghanistan and Iraq to hinder any activities by Iran in these two countries. After President Obama had won the presidential elections in 2008, he withdrew troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. He further opted for peaceful negotiation and discussion with Iran on various issues.
On the other hand, another republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, thinks otherwise. He is the second in polls after Mitt Romney now and may beat him in the remaining states. He thinks that Iran is an “enemy” to Americans. He thinks that it would be better to stand shoulder to shoulder in support for Israel if it launches a pre-emptive attack on Iran. He would further back direct American military support if requested by Israel.
According to Friedman (2012), Rick expresses no doubts that Iran has a strong determination to build nuclear weapons. He says that Iran is an existential threat to American ally, Israel. He refers to Iran as an enemy on the way of achieving nuclear capability, as it also straddles a long track record in supporting Hamas and Hezbollah.
He was once quoted saying that the United States itself could be vulnerable to Iranian electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Furthermore, he asserts Iran could temper with the global energy supply in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, or Suez Canal (Friedman, 2012).
Analysis on Whose Victory Would Be the Best for Iran’s Interest
The President Obamas re-election would be in favor of the Iranian interests because of the opinions and tactics he tends to employ. President Obamas way of approaching international sanctions against Iran is somehow is not as tough as Santorum would (Associated Press, 2012). He thinks if allowed or supported, it would destabilize the country’s economy. This is different from Rick Santorum’s way of approaching the issue.
He promises to harshly employ full economic sanctions on Iran if elected. President Obama furthermore does not support Israel on the issue of launching a pre-emptive attack on our country, unlike Rick Santorum who fully supports this (Oppel, 2011). In addition, president Obama should be re-elected because of his diplomatic approach to the issues of nuclear development program. He supports discussions and negotiation on the issue. Furthermore, he does not support extreme economic sanctions like Santorum does.
The pre–election period in the US is not the best time for Iran to insist on asserting the interests in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a crucial period in the US, and thus, putting our interests ahead may call for the President Obamas wrath on the country. Just like other candidates need votes, he also needs them. Thus, when we embark on activities which may tend to deny him to gain votes; he is likely to act sternly on us to acquire lost votes.
He might decide to strike militarily, perhaps, supporting the pre-emptive attack of Israel on the country and offer them military support. He may also support international sanctions against Iran, which may lead to collapse of the countrys economy.
However, I support the nuclear development program because it is clear that the US has no specialized intelligent group that can monitor the process of nuclear weapon development. Thus, this is the best time for us to step up the nuclear development program. I do recommend this because it is clear that Americans are not fully aware of the nuclear development projects.
Associated Press. “US grants exemption on Iran economic sanctions to 10 EU countries, Japan.” The Washington Post. 2012
Friedman, Uri. “Iran Man.” Foreign Policy. 2012.
Newton-Small, Jay. “Making Iran a Campaign Issue May Not Prove Easy for the GOP.” Time Swampland. 2012.
Oppel, Richard. “G.O.P. Field Attacks Obama Foreign Policy with Tough Talk on Iran.” The New York Times. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/us/politics/Republican-Candidates-Talk-Tough-on-Iran.html>.
“US hits Iran with new sanctions“. Aljazeera. 2012