AFP: The White House expressed support Saturday for those pressing for greater freedom in Iran, following hardliner Mahmood Ahmadinejad’s shock landslide victory. “We continue to stand with those who call for greater freedom for the Iranian people,” Maria Tamburri, a White House spokeswoman, told AFP. AFP
WASHINGTON – The White House expressed support Saturday for those pressing for greater freedom in Iran, following hardliner Mahmood Ahmadinejad’s shock landslide victory.
“We continue to stand with those who call for greater freedom for the Iranian people,” Maria Tamburri, a White House spokeswoman, told AFP.
Tamburri said the United States “had had concerns about the recent election, where over 1,000 candidates were disqualified from running and there were many allegations of election fraud and interference.”
“We strongly support free and fair elections, through which the Iranian people can express their will,” she added.
Iran’s all-powerful supreme leader boasted that the United States had been “humiliated deep inside” by the election, which saw moderate cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — who was in favor of resuming dialogue with Washington — trounced by Ahmadinejad in Friday’s second round of the presidential race.
A self-proclaimed fundamentalist seeking a return to the moral “purity” of the early years of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad, 49, vowed he would “build up an exemplary, developed and powerful Islamic society.”
Ahmadinejad’s controversial victory leaves anti-Western ultraconservatives in complete control of every elected and unelected institution in Iran and effectively slams the door on any chance of reconciliation with the United States.
Late Friday, the US State Department had said Iran is “out of step” with a trend toward freedom and liberty in its region, after Ahmadinejad won the election, condemned by Washington as “flawed.”
And earlier this month, US President George W. Bush had assailed the contest’s legitimacy, charging that the election “ignores the basic requirements of democracy.”
“Today, Iran is ruled by men who suppress liberty at home and spread terror across the world. Power is in the hands of an unelected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy,” Bush said in a statement released by the White House June 16, a day ahead of the first round of voting.
“The June 17th presidential elections are sadly consistent with this oppressive record,” the US president said.
Bush — who in 2002 labeled Iran part of an “axis of evil” with North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq — specifically assailed the tough vetting process that sidelined more than 1,000 candidates, including all of the female hopefuls.