Iran marks a year of Ahmadinejad govt, US says `illegitimate`

Upping the ante against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the US has dismissed as "illegitimate" the Iranian President`s election to the country`s top office, as he completes a year of his second term.

Updated: Jun 12, 2010, 15:01 PM IST

Washington: Upping the ante against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the US has dismissed as "illegitimate" the Iranian President`s election to the country`s top office, as he completes a year of his second term.

Locked in a bitter war of words with Iran over the slapping of fresh sanctions against it, the US said Ahmadinejad`s term in office has been marked by repression and suppression of freedom of expression.

"We are mindful of the fact that Saturday will mark the first anniversary of the illegitimate election in Iran and the consequent repression and restrictions on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression that have followed the election last year in Iran," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters at his news briefing.

Elaborating what he meant by "illegitimate" elections, Crowley said the results of the election did not reflect the will of the Iranian people but the "government is what it is".

The UN Security Council resolution approved this week slapped additional economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme which the US says points to a covert weapons agenda but Tehran defends as solely for energy purposes.

"We thought this was the right time to send a very clear message to Iran that it`s on the wrong course and has to change," Crowley said in response to a question on the UNSC resolution.

"It was the right time because it is Iran that said very flatly, beginning in New York when foreign ministers met on the margins of the NPT conference, and then even in Tehran with the leaders of Brazil and Turkey present, that regardless of any declaration, regardless of any TRR proposal, Iran was going to continue to enrich uranium to 20 per cent," he said.

After rejecting a Western proposal last year to ship low-enriched uranium out of Iran in exchange for highly- enriched fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), Iran last month agreed on a similar deal with Brazil and Turkey.

However, the US and its allies said the agreement did not satisfy the international concerns.

"That is a fundamental violation of previous Security Council resolutions. It is a violation of Iran`s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT).

"Iran remains the only country in the world that has failed to convince the IAEA of the peaceful intentions of its nuclear programme," Crowley said.

He said the TRR proposal back in October was meant as a confidence-building measure.

"Mindful of the fact that during the time in which we had put the TRR proposal on the table, Iran had effectively doubled the amount of enriched uranium," he said.

It is the broader question of Iran`s obligations, he said, adding: "We stand by our vote. We`ll have other countries explain the actions that they took".

PTI