[QODLink]
Americas

US casts doubts on Iran election credibility

US Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Iran for cutting all but eight men out of the country's presidential poll.

Last Modified: 24 May 2013 17:16
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
In a visit with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, Kerry said Iran's system obstructs democracy [Reuters]

The United States has called into question the credibility of Iran's presidential election next month, criticising the disqualification of candidates and accusing Tehran of disrupting Internet access.

On a visit to Israel on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry also warned that time was running out to resolve the deadlock over Iran's contested nuclear programme.

Iran's Guardian Council, the state body that vets all candidates, has barred a number of hopefuls from the roster in
the June 14 ballot, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is seen as sympathetic to reform for reasons related to questioning the electoral process.

Like the reform candidates in 2009 - Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who remain under house arrest following the unrest of the elections that year - Hashemi Rafsanjanji lost to current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 race.

Spotlight
Follow in-depth coverage of Iran's presidential poll

"The Council narrowed a list of almost seven hundred potential candidates down to...officials of their choice, based solely on who represents the regime's interests," Kerry said shortly before flying out of Israel.

"That is hardly an election by standards which most people in most countries judge free, fair, open, accessible, accountable elections."

Most of the remaining eight men left on the Iranian ballot are seen as loyalists to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Kerry, whose country's decades-old rift with Iran has widened over the latter's nuclear ambitions, said Washington saw "troubling signs" that the Iranian government was slowing down or cutting off Internet access to its citizens.

"Ultimately the Iranian people (will) be prevented not only from choosing someone who might have reflected their point of view, but also taking part in a way that is essential to any kind of legitimate democracy," he said.

Israel and most Western powers, including the US, believe Iran is seeking to obtain nuclear weapons - something Tehran has denied.

Israel, which is assumed to have its own nuclear arsenal,  has warned it might attack Iran if it does not halt its atomic work, but Kerry said he hoped a diplomatic solution could still be found.

"Our hope is, for the sake of the region, the world, the Iranian people, ourselves, that we can have a peaceful resolution, but it is going to have to be demonstrated much more affirmatively than it has been to date that Iran is interested in that kind of a solution," he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said this week in a report that Iran was trying to accelerate its uranium enrichment programme.

"The clock is clearly ticking," Kerry added.

454

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list