Following are excerpts from an interview with Iranian political science professor and expert on U.S. affairs Mohammad-Ali Fardanesh of Shahid Behshti University. The interview aired on IRIB/Jaam-E Jam 2 TV on September 2, 2008.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/1843.
Americans "Don't Understand That [Obama's] Education Would Enable Him to Serve Them Better"
Mohammad-Ali Fardanesh: "The difference between Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush is that McCain steps harder on the gas, but he is driving down the same path, and so there is no difference between them.
"The problem with Mr. Obama is his education. He is a Harvard graduate. The Americans cannot accept him because they consider him an elitist – someone who thinks he is above others, because he is better educated. They don't understand that his education would enable him to serve them better."
Interviewer: "So they will have more money..."
Mohammad-Ali Fardanesh: "This would improve the situation in America in general. The flaw they see in Mr. Obama – which they don't admit – is that he is highly educated and very eloquent. What does he speak so eloquently for?! Mr. McCain, who considers himself such an expert in international politics, still says 'Czechoslovakia.'
Interviewer: "He doesn't know that Czechoslovakia was divided?"
McCain "Doesn't Know Anything, Poor Thing"
Mohammad-Ali Fardanesh: "He doesn't know anything, poor thing. He is terrible. Let me tell you, he's awful. He doesn't know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis, yet he wants to resolve the problems in Iraq? He doesn't know whether Iran is Shiite or Sunni, or the difference between the two."
Interviewer: "Many experts believe that the crises in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine are the Achilles' heel of America. Therefore, we should ask whether there is any difference between the Democratic and Republican parties with regard to the issue of Iraq. Is there any difference between them?"
"Biden... Is Respectable and Healthy"
Mohammad-Ali Fardanesh: "Yes. Mr. Obama's perspective is more clear. Only yesterday, they transferred control of the Al-Anbar province to the Iraqi government, on the first day of Ramadhan. This is something Mr. Obama has been saying. Mr. Obama has said several times: 'Al-Qaeda operates in 80 countries, but we got ourselves entangled in Iraq. Our presence in Iraq is what led Al-Qaeda to begin operating there.' That's why Mr. Obama and his team...
"Mr. Biden is a very respectable man. He has a good reputation, and he is respectable and healthy. He has been in the Senate for 36 years, since he was 29. They are more knowledgeable in foreign affairs. True, Obama has no experience, but McCain not only has no experience, but doesn't even know where 'abroad' is. The poor guy is very absentminded."
Interviewer: "McCain has declared that if he is elected, American forces will stay in Iraq 100 years. Based on this, can we draw any conclusion about which party is more likely to win?"
Mohammad-Ali Fardanesh: "My problem is that McCain is a war hero, a veteran pilot, whose plane crashed in Vietnam and who spent eight and a half years at war. He is a respectable, humane, honest, and patriotic man, but when it comes to foreign policy and domestic affairs, he has nothing to offer."
Interviewer: "Is the fact that [Palin] is a woman likely to appeal to women, and to arouse feminist sentiment in American society?"
Ms. Clinton "Is One of the Strongest Women in American History"; Ms. Palin Has No Experience
Mohammad-Ali Fardanesh: "Definitely. Dr. Kamrava mentioned the question of her experience. I don't think her husband knows about her experience either. She doesn't have any experience."
Interviewer: "She spent two years as governor of Alaska."
Mohammad-Ali Fardanesh: "Sixteen months. She was the mayor of a town of 10,000 residents. The previous governor of Alaska was a very corrupt man, and anybody running against him would have won. That's how she won.
"No. My answer is 'no.' Just like Obama is a phenomenon, as I said, Ms. Clinton, with her academic record, her determination, and her expertise in various issues, was outstanding and prominent. She is one of the strongest women in American history. Now, Ms. Palin – whose name they don't even pronounce correctly... Will she manage to attract Clinton's voters? No."