comscore Iran’s latest propaganda tool: The Clinton-Trump debates | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Iran’s latest propaganda tool: The Clinton-Trump debates

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves to the audience as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump puts his notes away after the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, on Oct. 19.

TEHRAN, Iran >> In the past, Iranians looking to mock the United States would burn cardboard effigies of Uncle Sam or Lady Liberty. But in recent months, as the U.S. presidential election took a series of bizarre turns, Iranians seeking to make fun of the “Great Satan” ditched the arts and crafts and simply switched on their TV sets.

Iran’s state television aired all three debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — live. In a country that tightly controls information about the United States and depictions of Western democracy, the decision to air the debates was unprecedented.

“We only need to sit back and let these candidates show themselves how idiotic they are,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, a conservative analyst and a regular guest on state television. “The best way for us to prove that the U.S. government is corrupt and hideous is by showing these people live on our TV.”

Live, yes, but some parts — especially those criticizing Iran — were not fully translated.

Iran’s political establishment has been thoroughly enjoying the campaign. Not because the ruling clerics favor either candidate, but because, they say, the tenor of the debates shows the “catastrophe” U.S. democracy has become.

On Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the U.S. election “a spectacle for exposing their crimes and debacles.”

Khamenei seized on the campaign’s tawdriest details: accusations of infidelity and sexual assault. “The remarks made by these two U.S. presidential candidates over the last few weeks on immoral issues — which are, for the most part, not baseless accusations — are enough to disgrace America,” he said during a speech commemorating the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Trump, the Republican nominee, was not mentioned by name, but the ayatollah seemed to praise his outspokenness, saying: “People pay more attention to him.”

The candidate, he said, is tapping into genuine American dissatisfaction. “Because the people look at what he says and see it is true,” Khamenei said. “They see it in the facts of their lives.”

Iran’s leaders are entangled in a constant battle for power and influence with the U.S., which was long the strongest power in the Middle East.

“America is no longer a superpower in the region. It’s weak in the Middle East. They are now only one of the players,” said Jalal Barzegar, a reformist journalist. “It’s now just a country.”

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  • now that iran is so strong they want to take away our nuclear weapons..
    and ilLIARy will give it to them..and they will want 1 trillion dollars to protect us..and
    opala will give to to them..in cash..

  • Say what you want about the craziness of the 2016 election. But that wide-eyed grinning off the rails photo of Waldo in the white Dr. Evil suit should be sufficient to disqualify her. Never mind the influence peddling and classified information mis-handling. Those pale in comparison to that frightening photo. It’s no wonder Bill was such a prolific “ladies man”.

    • This is what you have been reduced to? Criticizing her clothes?

      Well, I suppose you were bound to reach rock bottom at some point.

      You are definitely a Trump supporter!

        • Well leave it to a simpleton to simplify something. The thing is – you have been fixated with Mrs. Clinton’s appearance and clothing for the entire election cycle.

          You want simple? You are the man to go to!

  • The world is laughing at the US, and rightfully so. Just look at the 2 people nominated for President, neither is the best of their party, neither is fit to serve.

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