IRAQ / IRAN: Iraqis are divided over who should be the next U.S. president; Iranians hope for better relations with AmericaRecord ID: 313558
- Title: IRAQ / IRAN: Iraqis are divided over who should be the next U.S. president; Iranians hope for better relations with America
- Date: 5th November 2008
- Summary: WOMEN WALKING IN STREET
- Reuters ID: LVA491B2ZBGIN4M2O19RGLL9RUM7
- Duration: 00:00:07
- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: On the day Americans go to the polls to choose a new president Iraqis in Baghdad are divided over who would be best for them... Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama.
On the streets of the capital on Tuesday (November 3) there are some who want U.S. troops to stay as they feel better protected from internal conflict. And as Obama has stated he wants a withdrawal of U.S. forces, McCain would be the better choice.
But others are keen for U.S. forces to leave, and therefore Obama's their man.
However, there is also disillusionment, and one resident said it would make no difference who became the next occupant of the White House as he would do nothing for Iraq.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died since 2003, and attacks simmer on in some parts of the country even though violence in October hit its lowest level since the war began.
Residents of the Shi'ite sprawling slum of Sadr City in Baghdad were in no doubt. They called for the next U.S. president to pull troops out of Iraq.
Sheikh Mushin al-Kinani said it didn't matter whether it was Barack Obama or John McCain that won the U.S. election, what the Iraqis wanted was for the troops to leave Iraq.
" The occupation brings only sufferings and destitution to Iraq," he said.
Abu Saif, another resident of Sadr City, called for the new president to change policy on Iraq, from that adopted by George W Bush.
Bush's policy, he said, "attacked Iraqis, violated the honour of its people, plundered its riches and damaged its infrastructure."
He called on the next president to work on building good relations with Arab countries.
Several hundred kilometres away from Baghdad in the Iranian capital Tehran there was hope the new leader could help rebuild ties with Iran.
Both Obama and McCain have said they will toughen sanctions against Iran, but Obama is prepared to engage in direct talks.
In Tehran, university student Hossein Asghari said America should stop confrontation and conflict with Iran.
"We are a cultured and peace-loving nation and I hope they can improve bilateral relations with Iran," Asghari said.
The United States cut ties with Tehran in 1980. Washington now says it is considering opening a U.S. interests section in Tehran, which would mean sending diplomats. It says this would show the United States was against Iran's government not people.
Bush labelled Iran part of an "axis of evil" in 2002, a move that angered the Islamic Republic particularly after it helped in the 2001 U.S.-led war to topple Afghanistan's Taliban.
Iranian analysts say officials in Tehran may privately prefer Obama but they are not counting on a major U.S. policy shift.
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- Embargoed:20th November 2008 12:00
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