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US Further Criticizes Iranian Elections - 2004-02-24

President Bush is adding his voice to those criticizing the recent parliamentary elections in Iran from which reformist candidates were excluded.

One day after the State Department sharply criticized Iran's election, the White House issued a written statement from the president.

Spokesman Scott McClellan read it to reporters.

"I am very disappointed in the recently disputed parliamentary elections in Iran," he said. "The disqualifications of some 2,400 candidates by the unelected Guardian Council deprived many Iranians of the opportunity to freely choose their representatives."

The statement also condemns efforts to stifle press freedom in Iran prior to the election. It ends by saying the United States backs the aspirations of the Iranian people to live in freedom, and determine their own destiny.

Monday, the United States criticized the elections, saying the contest was "deeply flawed," and did not meet international standards.