In an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times, Kadkhodaei points to the recent rift in the American society, saying "despite the economic growth" in the U.S. before the breakout of the Coronavirus pandemic, Trump's negative approaches have sparked "reactions which pushed American society to a divided state."
According to Kadkhodaei, a law expert who has been serving in the oversight Guardian Council for many years, Trump has lost to himself "because of his own wrong policies” inside and outside the United States.
The following is the text of the interview:
Q: What is your analysis of the recent events and disputes over the election result in the U.S.?
A: There has been a lot of analysis about the recent U.S. election. Perhaps in the last hundred years, the United States has not faced a challenge like this; even the dispute between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000 was resolved quickly.
These quarrels are largely due to the U.S. administration's wrong policies in recent years, which are still going on. Although voter turnout was high in this election, as it reached the highest since 1908, Trump's approaches over the past four years have led to divisions in the United States; the old North-South challenges were revived.
Despite economic growth that was achieved under Trump's presidency, the wrong attitudes that he pursued and hatred, especially racism, that he injected into the American society triggered harsh reactions between rejection and endorsement (of his performance) which pushed American society to a divided state.
In short, the fact that Trump failed to win the required votes, he lost to himself because of his own wrong policies, especially his view of blacks and the South (Southern countries) and closing borders.
He also made many mistakes at the international level, such as the assassination of Major General Soleimani, which showed that the United States does not adhere to what it claims about the concept of global democracy.
The U.S. withdrawal from international treaties stemmed from the extreme unilateralist approach that Trump has been pursued during his presidential years.
Trump had imagined that he could bring the American people along with himself, but the election results show that Biden is leading the current president.
Regardless of who wins the election, it makes no difference to the Islamic Republic, as Iranian officials have repeatedly stated. But the most important factor in Trump's defeat was the wrong policies he pursued, first inside the U.S. and second the extreme unilateralist approach that he adopted at the international scene; and during these four years, he tried to impose his wills on the other countries all around the world.
Q: Given the president's influence on the U.S. judiciary and the nomination of Supreme Court justices and their potential verdict on elections, it seems that the separation of powers in the U.S. political system is not well organized. What is your opinion?
A: Of course, we must analyze each country's political systems based on its own conditions and requirements. For example, the political system in Britain is different from France and the United States. They claim the Check and Balances system, in which the president nominates the judges of the Supreme Court and the judiciary. In the UK, instead of separation of powers, the system of fusion of powers prevails, where executive and legislative branches of government are intermingled.
But the people of these countries ask the question if this mix of structures could threaten the independence of powers? In the dispute between George W. Bush and Al Gore (in the 2000 elections), such an inference was made, whereas American society's perception was that since Bush appointed the judges, their approach was Republican, and the vote they cast was in favor of Bush.
Such an impression has always existed; however, it cannot be said that they will necessarily make the wrong decision. But if we want to study this political structure in terms of the principle of fairness and justice, it sounds flawed.
On the other hand, public and political spheres cannot be easily separated. What matters is the verdict that is issued. The appointment by itself is not wrong, but the appointment, the appointed person's opinion, and decision must be independent.
There are many defects in the American political system. But the policies adopted by officials and governments have worsened the situation. That is, they do not adhere to the slogans they give and the principles they claim they uphold. For example, a discriminatory and supremacist view toward blacks still in the American society is amplified by the president.
This has nothing to do with the political system but is the wrong behavior of a political official. Or at the international level, we see that they withdrew from a lot of agreements, such as the Paris (Climate) Agreement and the JCPOA and UNESCO, which means ignoring the principles that they claimed they cherish. The U.S. government's wrong policies that have caused the current situation are not accepted by American society.
Q: What if one of the candidates claims election fraud? Is there any legal mechanism to verify the allegation?
A: Since the election is a socio-political issue in any country, then there are political considerations when we want to deal with it. It is not easy to measure political action by judicial and legal criteria. Also, this is the case in our country as well. For example, some expect the Guardian Council to decide based on political criteria, while we believe that our criterion is just law. In the United States and many other countries with a partisan system, most matters are dealt with within parties and by political criteria, but when it comes to claims such as election fraud, it requires the involvement of the judiciary. Judiciary should enter as if Trump had filed several lawsuits to stop counting postal ballots, but finally, the Supreme Court is authorized to rule in this regard. In the United States, it is the judiciary that rules about election fraud.
But some European experts ask what if the judiciary takes the side of someone? That is, if only judges decide based on political affiliation, there will be a kind of judicial dictatorship. For example, France has resorted to a non-judicial solution to tackle political disputes. They have formed the Constitutional Council, just as we have the Guardian Council in Iran. Sometimes it is said that the Guardian Council should not handle election irregularities, and a judicial authority should rule in this regard. But we face two different political systems; a system like the one by the United States and the United Kingdom that resorts to the judiciary to resolve political disputes, while in some other countries, such as France or Iran, a non-judicial body does the job.
Q: Why do Iranian officials say that the U.S. presidential election result will not affect Tehran's policy?
A: The Islamic Republic of Iran is an independent country thanks to the blood of the martyrs and the leadership of Imam Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei.
Independence not only has been the core idea of the Islamic Revolution but been pursued in practice. Dependence on a foreign country has its consequences and problems. Elections in the United States, like any other country, may change course at some point, but what we have seen from the United States over the past 41 years has been nothing but hostility; including supporting the deposed Shah and various terrorist groups, especially anti-Iran Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), who have carried out numerous assassination operations inside Iran. Add to this supporting Saddam during the eight-year war against Iran.
These have made the U.S. record dark when it comes to Iran's history, and thus it does not matter to us whether a Democrat wins or a Republican. Both parties have committed destructive acts against the Iranian people in the same way. The assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani was the latest example of aggressive actions committed by Trump's administration. Whoever wins the election, major policies of the United States will not change fundamentally, and we must rely on the internal resources, Iranian people, and youth.
Q: Many experts believe that the Electoral College system is an outdated mechanism. What is your opinion?
A: We have nothing to do with America's domestic affairs. But establishing Electoral Colleges was more because ordinary people did not know about the candidates, so it was decided that the people would elect a number of political experts, and they would vote for the best candidate. Such a situation has made the election in America indirect. Today, due to recent developments, peoples' attitudes and knowledge level has improved. That is why some American experts believe that this mechanism (Electoral College) no longer is functional and should have been abolished a long time ago. Campaigns have also been launched to reform the Electoral College. But we cannot comment because we are outside (the United States) Therefore, the conditions and requirements of American society must be considered, and decisions made accordingly.
Q: Now what qualifications are needed to run for the post of presidential candidate in Iran? Are women qualified to run for president in Iran?
A: We have to wait and see what the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the parliament) will decide. For some time now, the current parliament has been presenting an amendment to the presidential election law, which has been working for a long time and is on the agenda of the parliament after the comments of experts.
Before commenting on it, we first have to see whether the qualifications included in the parliamentary amendment are acceptable to the members of the Guardian Council or not, including the definition Rajol Siasi (political-religious man) as a requirement to run for president. (According to Iran’s Constitution anybody who runs for president should be a Rajol Siasi, an Arabic term which is interpreted in two ways: one interpretation says it means the hopeful should be a male as Rajol means male in Arabic, and the other one says it means that the hopeful should be a political figure.)
We have to see what the Majlis (parliament) will eventually ratify. I do not think that the amendment of the Majlis would address women's candidacy. Nevertheless, there is a big difference of opinion among experts, and it is not an issue that we can change with a minor amendment. Cultural considerations must also be taken into account, and we must see over time what new ideas are raised in order to comment on them.