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Obama news conference: Many Iranians consider election illegitimate, president says

June 23, 2009 |  9:55 am

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The president called on Nico Pitney, a correspondent from the Huffington Post, and asked him to ask a question about Iraq. “Do you have a question,” Obama prompted.

Pitney said the Huffpost had queried its Iranian readers and this was the question one had asked: “A question directly from an Iranian” he began. “Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn’t that a betrayal of the demonstrators there?"

Obama was, as he has been, circumspect, and did not directly answer the question. “We didn’t have international observers on the ground, we can’t say definitely what happened at polling places. What we know is that a sizable percentage of the Iranian people themselves ... consider this election illegitimate. It’s not an isolated instance, a little grumbling here or there. There are significant questions about the legitimacy of the election.”

The Iranian government must consider what its own people think, Obama said.

“There are international norms about dealing with peaceful dissent that spans cultures, spans borders and what we’ve been seeing violates that.”

-- Robin Abcarian

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Photo: Younes Khani / Mehr News Agency

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