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Asia-pacific

White House recognises Ahmadinejad as 'elected leader'

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-05

On the eve of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's swearing-in, the White House has acknowledged the firebrand leader as the "elected" president of Iran, but said it had no plans to congratulate him on his impending inauguration.

AFP - The White House on Tuesday acknowledged Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the "elected" president of Iran, but said it had no plans to congratulate the firebrand leader on his impending inauguration.
  
On the eve of Ahmadinejad's swearing-in, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs stopped short of declaring him the "legitimate" president following the political turmoil unleashed by his disputed reelection in June.
  
"He's the elected leader," Gibbs said.
  
Earlier, Gibbs was asked whether the United States would make any gesture of congratulations to mark the moment on Wednesday when Ahmadinejad takes the oath of office before parliament, military officials and some foreign diplomats.
  
"I don't have any reason to believe that we will send any letters," Gibbs said.
  
The United States has no diplomatic relations with Iran and its interests in the country are represented by the Swiss embassy.
  
Throughout the fierce political turmoil unleashed by Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection, the administration of President Barack Obama took pains not to inject the United States into the political tumult.
  

But Obama became more critical of the Iranian government as the government launched a violent crackdown to suppress dissent and his administration expressed increasing questions about the conduct of the election.
  
Ahmadinejad's victory set off the worst turmoil in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, with deadly street protests, political trials and increasing divisions among the ruling elite.
  
About 30 people were killed in the violence, hundreds wounded and around 2,000 initially arrested, while 110 have gone on trial.

Date created : 2009-08-04

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