Alongside Ayatollah Khomeini, Abolhassan Banisadr took part in the 1979 revolution that ousted the Iranian monarchy. He was elected president of the republic in January 1980. But his term was set to be short. He was impeached in June 1981 under action driven by Ayatollah Khomeini. A month later he was forced to leave the country and took refuge in France. Today he lives in Versailles, close to Paris, in a house protected by the police.
The Islamic republic has always preferred the Republicans to the Democrats. It was Reagan who Khomeini made an agreement with in 1980. They got on so well that the American hostages were released just after the presidential election [American diplomats were held hostage in their embassy for 400 days; an incident that sparked a diplomatic crisis between the two countries]. That played a part in the defeat of Carter. Similarly, Irangate [when it was revealed that the US had sold arms to Iran in 1985 when officially they preached an embargo], happened under Reagan's administration as well.
Republicans, like the Islamic republic, benefit from a tense climate. The Guards of the Revolution moreover, have an interest in reserving their foreign enemies. They control the country more than Ahmadinejad does - the justice system, the parliament, and even more so the economy. Today Iran lives on a allowance-based economy controlled by the Guards. Petrol, smuggling, imports, land; it's all in their hands. If they opened the country, they wouldn't profit from the blossoming economy that would follow.
I prefer Obama to the other American candidates. But that's not the real question. The real question is whether the same Americans that elected Bush are capable today of electing a black and Democratic candidate. I have my doubts."