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Iranian Election Results May Be Based on Attitudes to US


Iran elects a new president on Friday (6/17/05). Some hard-liners in Iran, who support the most conservative candidates, are calling for a big turnout to send a message of defiance to those they consider enemies. As one cleric put it, each vote means “death to America." VOA's Kimberly Russell has more on Iranian attitudes towards the U.S.

For some Iranians, the 1979 Islamic Revolution is rooted in anti-American sentiments--largely based on a history of foreign intervention in their country.

The U.S. cut diplomatic ties with Iran just after the Revolution and relations between the two governments have fluctuated between hostility and indifference.

These days, tensions are rising, and some Iranians believe the United States' ultimate goal is to oust the Islamic government. Many say the United States cannot be trusted.

One man in Iran said, "We Muslims, each of us, is a time bomb, that in every place of the world, throw U.S. interests into danger, and every place we can, we fight against the U.S. with every weapon of every shape, in every method."

Other Iranians believe better U.S.-Iran relations are in both nations' interests, although some of them oppose recent U.S. policies toward their country.

"I think America, this method that it has taken up, that it wants to stand tall before all the countries, and with force, take away the interests--it's not all correct," said an Iranian girl.

These Iranians say the United States has no right trying to stop their country from producing its own nuclear energy. The issue has intensified many Iranians’ sense of national pride.

And many Iranians are concerned that the Bush administration will take a tougher stance against Iran, if the nuclear issue is not resolved diplomatically.

Besides the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, Iranians also say there is a mutual distrust over issues such as human rights, the Middle East peace process, and the role of the U.S. and Iran in the Middle East.

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