Rice: Iran Vote Goes Against Democracy
Iran's presidential election shows the country is out of step with democratic reforms in the Middle East, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday in the Bush administration's first public reaction to the balloting.It is unbelievable that the mainstream media is willing to parrot the election results from the corrupt government of Iran as if they were a legitimate democracy. But the world is silent.
"I just don't see the Iranian elections as being a serious attempt to move Iran closer to a democratic future," she said in an interview on ABC's "This Week." READ MORE
President Bush denounced the election a day before Friday's vote, saying it was designed to maintain power in the hands of an unelected few who denied ballot access to more than 1,000 people who wanted to run. Rice repeated that criticism Sunday, noting that all the women who wanted to be candidates were not allowed on the ballot.
"Any election in which thousands of people are disqualified by fiat and in which women are disqualified as a class barely deserves to be given that title, particularly in a place that several years ago seemed to be moving in a different direction," Rice said on "Fox News Sunday."
The race drew an unexpectedly strong turnout of nearly 63 percent and resulted in Iran's closest election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Bush's comments were widely seen in Iran as a boost to hard-liner turnout, with two ultraconservative candidates winning the most votes and facing a run-off election this coming Friday.
Rice appeared on the Sunday talk shows from Jerusalem, where she was meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. She said both sides have told her they are concerned about Iran's support for terrorists who are spreading violence across the region.
She said Iranians have consistently demonstrated their interest in greater democracy. She said other recent elections in the Middle East _ in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories_ have not closed the ballot the way that Iran did.
"I find it hard to see how this election could certainly contribute to the sense of legitimacy of the Iranian government, and it certainly is out of step with the way that elections are being held in the region," she said on ABC.