World Bulletin / News Desk
The United States on Friday 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, U.S. 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.
"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.
Meanwhile, Iran has criticized the United States for making remarks on the presidential election in the Islamic Republic, advising U.S. officials to raise their awareness about legal mechanisms in Iran, Tahran Times reported.
Making poor judgment on the electoral process in Iran is not only an act of “interference” in the internal affairs of Iran but also an “insult” to the political wisdom of the Iranian people, Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said in a statement on Wednesday.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Mayıs 2013, 09:21