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.Speaking 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 arms."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.