President wins endorsement from admirers in the 'axis
AP in Tehran
Saturday October 23, 2004
He has accused the country of being part of the axis
of evil, a harbourer of al-Qaida terrorists and a
nuclear menace threatening global stability.
So President George Bush may view with suspicion a
ringing election endorsement from one of America's
current enemies. Iran has thrown its weight behind the
Bush campaign, saying it is unimpressed with John
"We haven't seen anything good from the Democrats,"
said Hasan Rowhani, head of Iran's Supreme National
Security Council, on state television. "We do not
desire to see Democrats take over ... We should not
forget that most sanctions and economic pressures were
imposed on Iran during the time of [former Democratic
president Bill] Clinton. And we should not forget that
during Bush's era - despite his hardline and baseless
rhetoric against Iran - he didn't take, in practical
terms, any dangerous action against Iran."
Iran's declaration, however, is unlikely to be used on
the stump by Mr Bush, despite the closeness of the
"It's not an endorsement we'll be accepting any time
soon," said a Bush spokesman, Scott Stanzel, who
suggested that Tehran should concentrate on pledging
to "stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons".
With the adage that "with friends like these, who
needs enemies" probably springing to mind, Mr Kerry's
spokeswoman, Allison Dobson, said: "It is telling that
this president has received the endorsement of a
member of the 'axis of evil'."
Washington severed diplomatic ties with Iran after
militants stormed the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and
held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. America
supported Iraq in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and
relations plummeted again when Mr Bush accused Iran of
being part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and
Since then, US forces have accused the Iranians of
fomenting violence in Iraq.
However, Mr Rowhani did not seem to think that Iran
would be targeted next. "At least Republicans have
come to the conclusion in our region that militarism
and invasion has not only failed to bring any results
but, on the contrary, it is threatening their
� Mr Bush gained another foreign endorsement yesterday
when Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime minister, said
he "hoped and believed" the US president would win.
But his prophecy may not be that reassuring. Mr
Berlusconi confidently predicted victory for Spain's
Jos� Maria Aznar in March, only for the incumbent to