Al-monitor – The Iranian press’ interest in the first debate between the Republican candidate for US president, Donald Trump, and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, was clear in Iran’s print media on Sept. 28. Analysis and opinions of the two presidential candidates, who battled it out at Hofstra University in New York on Sept. 26, was made all the more impassioned by the fact that Iran had suddenly found itself in the middle of the battlefield.
Javan Online, the daily newspaper close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, ran an article Sept. 27 titled “The Iranophobia Race.” Kayhan daily, whose editor is appointed by the country’s supreme leader, called the debate “a contest in Iranophobia” in which “Trump threatened to attack Iran and Clinton continued to stress the political and economic pressures against Iran.” The hard-line Kayhan, one of the loudest critics of Iran’s nascent diplomatic relations with the United States and the nuclear deal, failed to mention Clinton’s defense of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s (JCPOA) diplomatic approach. The JCPOA was signed in July 2015 between Iran and six world powers.
Among the numerous reports on Sept. 28, Ebtekar News dedicated a section of its coverage to the Wi-Fi connection at Hofstra University and the outrageous price list: “$600 for journalists who used mobile phones to transmit the news [while] the cost of Wi-Fi connection for multiple devices was $3,500.” Comparing the prices to those during the American presidential debates in 2012, Ebtekar described the “increased costs” as “unreasonable.”
With the scent of Iran’s own presidential election next spring already in the air, Hamid Reza Assefi, a former spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, commented in an op-ed for the Reformist Shargh Daily on the likelyeffect of the US election on Iran. He concluded, “Because of the special rules and the internal sensitivities surrounding the election in Iran … external issues will have no effect.” He also wrote, “The truth is, both parties in the Unites States share the same opinion on the general aspects of the conflict with Iran.”
Meanwhile, among the numerous analyses in Shargh Daily on Sept. 28, in “Why did Iran become the axis of the Trump-Clinton debate?” the writer differs with Assefi’s take. Starting off with Iran’s unprecedented role as the most important foreign policy issue in the first round of debates, the writer said, “On one side is a man who stands against Iran with bullets and tanks and wants to rip up the JCPOA and fire at Iranian boats. On the other side, a woman who does not practice the flexibility of [President Barack] Obama toward Iran, but still is proud of the negotiations with Iran. … The Iranian analysts believe that one should not take the election talks too seriously.”