At a press conference during his visit to New Delhi on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asked what he thought the result of the U.S. presidential election would be, replied, "We don't interfere in the other countries' affairs but we think that the American nation seek profound changes in their country."
Ahmadinejad's answer was the second reported instance in which a high Iranian official, when asked about the U.S. presidential contest, has used the word "change" or "changes" in his answer.
Experts on Iranian political discourse believe that the officials' choice of words is intended to be a reference to Democratic contender Barack Obama's campaign theme, "Change We Can Believe In," and to thereby signal that relations between Tehran and Washington will improve if Obama is elected. Obama has stated his willingness to meet with Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad went on to say that because of Obama's race, he would not be "allowed" to become president, and that "presidency of a woman in a country that boasts its gunmanship is unlikely." "I think the US presidential campaign is being steered towards a determined direction," he said.
At a Tehran press conference on March 10, 2008, an Iranian reporter asked Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, vice minister of foreign affairs of Iran and spokesman of Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which U.S. presidential candidate Iran would support. Hosseini replied, "Iran would not support any candidates in the U.S. presidential campaign."
He continued, "But the nations of the world are fed up with America's warmongering policies and we demand these change."
Observers in Tehran note that Hosseini has a reputation for choosing his words carefully. An Iranian analyst said, "Hosseini is considered an expert on American affairs. He would not have used the word 'change' unless it was his intention to signal that the Iranian regime prefers that the next U.S. president be Mr. Obama."
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