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Worldwide Apprehension Greets Election of Hardliner in Iran


Some European nations are citing what they say were shortcomings in the Iranian election process, and are calling on Iran's president-elect to address international concerns about its nuclear program. Russia offered congratulations.

Tehran's hard-line mayor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defied predictions to win Friday's runoff presidential election in Iran.

In Afghanistan and Indonesia, reaction was muted. Indonesia praised the Iranian people for supporting the democratic process. In Pakistan, concerns were raised that the election of Mr. Ahmadinejad could further strain U.S.-Iranian relations.

Here in London, a statement released by Britain's foreign secretary underlined the continuing anxiety over Iran's nuclear intentions. Jack Straw said he hopes Iran will now take early steps to address international concerns about its nuclear program and its policies toward terrorism, human rights and the Middle East peace process.

He also raised questions about the voting process. Mr. Straw said there were what he called "serious deficiencies" in the election, measured in terms of international standards.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to his supporters
In Washington, the State Department remained skeptical of the election, and said the result would not change the U.S. view of Iran.

The official line from the French and Germans is a hope that Iran will continue its nuclear talks with Europe.

The country's research into uranium enrichment remains frozen pending the outcome of another round of talks between Tehran and representatives from Britain, France and Germany. Those talks are scheduled to resume in July.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Mr. Ahmadinejad, and said his country wants to continue nuclear cooperation with Iran, but opposes any spread of nuclear weapons.

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