The Iranian regime seems to have a rooting interest in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to a review of online writers and bloggers in Iran.
"Many in Iran are concerned that a Republican win means war,” an engineering student from Tehran named Sharhad blogged on Saturday. “The regime has plastered footage from war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq all over state TV, warning the people that this is what our country will look like if a Republican takes over in the U.S,” he wrote.
"If there's a victory for President Obama, the 5+1 countries as well as the United States will make good with Iran," predicted a political blogger inside Iran, only hours after Saturday’s New York Times report that U.S. and Iranian officials had agreed “in principle for the first time” to discuss Iran’s ongoing nuclear program.
Officials from both countries have since denied the report. But whatever the case, talk of potential face-to-face negotiations spread quickly in Iran, and came just two days before a presidential debate on national security and foreign policy.
The hope among some in Tehran is that President Obama would move quickly to set up negotiations after being re-elected.
"He will be better prepared to continue on this path to make things right with Iran after Election Day,” the political blogger wrote. “Romney won’t have enough time between January and the upcoming Iranian election in June to facilitate negotiations between the two countries."
The P5+1 nations, comprising the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council- the U.S., Britain, China, France and Russia, plus Germany, have convened multiple times in a series of unsuccessful attempts to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
The Tehran government has repeatedly denied developing nuclear weapons, insisting its program is entirely for peaceful purposes. Others have disputed that claim, and said evidence clearly indicates it is working toward nuclear weapons capability.
In addition to whatever line the Iranian government may be pushing, a political activist in Iran suggested pro-Obama support also emanates from the only two foreign news outlets available to most Iranians: Voice of America and the BBC, which “naturally support Obama,” he said.
It’s “unusual” that so many Iranians prefer Obama, the activist said, referring to the post-election, anti-government uprisings in 2009, when many Iranians took to the streets singing slogans such as “Obama, are you with us or with them?” expressing disappointment in the lack of public support by the new American administration.
“People are upset with America. They are frustrated. The sanctions are a heavy burden on the people while the Mullahs don’t even feel a pinch and their children are living lavishly in the U.S. or U.K.,” wrote another blogger.
The Iranian people are struggling in a rapidly deteriorating economy. The Iranian Rial currency has plummeted to below half its value, and inflation is over 40 percent, according to some reports.
Other Iranians seem less steadfast in their support for Obama.
“These are the same types, mostly the youth population here, who are upset with Obama over his lack of support during the 2009 protests,” he said about some current Obama supporters.
“On the one hand, they prefer Obama in this election because they fear war under the Republicans. But at the same time, they are pro-war if it would mean overthrowing the regime.”