Potential presidential candidate and Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, lambasted Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy on key issues. “Ahmadinejad has made controversial remarks regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, homosexuals in Iran and the Holocaust, thus drawing fire and international attention and condemnation. “We have seen much damage in terms of foreign policy”:
- Sanctions - “There was a time when they (Ahmadinejad) used to say the sanctions are torn pieces of paper. Now they are saying that they are crippling and source of all problems… A rational view suggests that the sanctions are neither torn pieces of paper, nor will removing them fix all problems.” Ahmadinejad has made defiant statements against the sanctions and even dared the West to pass more at one point… Statements regarding the extent to which sanctions have affected the economy are made with political rather than economic intentions and insights.
- Direct talks with the US not taboo - Iran’s foreign policy is decided by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei… Direct negotiations between the two countries would be need to be approved by him first.
- Denying the Holocaust - “We have never been against Judaism as a religion… We have always been against Zionism… We have been the main supporters of Palestine for 30 years, but with Khomeini’s and Khamenei’s conduct, no one could accuse us of being anti-Semitic. But suddenly without any regard for the implications, the issue of the Holocaust was raised (by Ahmadinejad) and turned into excuse for Iran’s biggest enemies, which are the Zionists, and affected the goals of the Palestinians… Denying the Holocaust is not part of our foreign policy. Defending the Palestinians is.”