A day after millions of Americans voted in a pivotal election, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad derided "Western" democratic elections as a
"battleground for the capitalists, and an excuse for hefty spending,"
AFP reported Thursday.
"Democracy has turned into the rule of a
minority over the majority," said the Iranian president, who himself faced
international allegations over rigged voting in his 2009 reelection.
at a Bali forum on democracy promotion attended by the likes of
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights Navi Pillay, Ahmadinejad said "even in countries who
claim to be the forerunners of democracy," only a wealthy few reached
positions of power.
In a reference to international concern over
Iran's nuclear program, Ahmadinejad dismissively asserted that "today
there is the development of some weapons even more dangerous than atomic
There had been speculation that, if US President Barack
Obama won a second term, the United States, which has not had diplomatic
relations with Iran for three decades, might seek to engage it in
direct talks. Obama wants to curb an Iranian nuclear program which he
believes has a military purpose, despite Iran's denials.
But Iran reacted coolly to Obama's reelection
as the head of its judiciary on Wednesday condemned the "crimes" of US
sanctions and indicated the president should not expect rapid new
negotiations with Tehran.
"After all this pressure and crimes
against the people of Iran, relations with America cannot be possible
overnight and Americans should not think they can hold our nation to
ransom by coming to the negotiating table," Sadeq Larijani was quoted as
saying by IRNA news agency.