Israel warned Sunday that the apparent re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad represented "an intensification of the Iranian threat," and called for redoubled international efforts to halt its nuclear program.
“After Ahmadinejad’s re-election, the international community must continue to act uncompromisingly to prevent the nuclearization of Iran, and to halt its activity in support of terror organizations and undermining stability in the Middle East,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. His deputy, Danny Ayalon, suggested that even if Ahmadinejad’s reformist rival, Mir Hossein Moussavi, had been declared the winner, Tehran would still pose a threat. “Israel had no illusions regarding the elections, as on these two issues there was no substantial difference between the candidates,” he said. Moussavi supporters are protesting the official results in Iran, which gave Ahmadinejad a resounding victory, to the surprise of many analysts who had predicted a Moussavi triumph. Hamas, the militant Palestinian movement backed by Iran, welcomed the results. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum urged the world to respect Iranian democracy and accept the results of the elections. Protests were planned Sunday in cities around the world, including London, Paris, New York, Sydney, Berlin, The Hague, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto. About 100 people protested in front of the Iranian Embassy in London on Saturday. “It was completely unbelievable, especially with the turnout and everything,” said one British protester. “It was obvious from the beginning that it was all rigged.” “Everyone was sure that … Moussavi was the winner,” said a woman at the demonstration. “People wanted change, people wanted — you know, not democracy in a sense of Western democracy, but the democracy that we were hopeful of.” Canada’s foreign affairs minister said Saturday he was worried about reports of irregularities in Iran’s election, while the U.S. secretary of state said the United States hoped the outcome reflected the will of Iranians. “Canada is deeply concerned by reports of voting irregularities in the Iranian election,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told reporters in Niagara Falls, in Ontario, Canada, where he appeared at a briefing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We’re troubled by reports of intimidation of opposition candidates’ offices by security forces,” he said. “We’ve asked our embassy officials in Tehran to closely monitor the situation, and Canada is calling on Iranian authorities to conduct fair and transparent counting of all ballots.”
Ahmadinejad hails election as protests grow
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The White House also issued a statement Saturday, saying it was watching reports of election irregularities. “We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in Iran but we, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide,” Clinton said. “The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran. We obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people.” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration was “impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians.” In Washington, about 40 protesters gathered outside the Iranian Interests Section to bring attention to what they say is a stolen election. “People have gathered here to express their distrust of the government in Iran, which has really turned a very genuine election into a sham, and has basically stolen people’s votes in order to maintain a regime that is seriously not wanted by the Iranian people,” said protester Robert Babeyi.
Babeyi said he moved from Iran to the United States more than 30 years ago, but stands behind those Iranians who he feels have been wronged. “We are hoping the voices of Iranian-Americans here are heard throughout the world and can express our solidarity for the people of Iran, that we are with them and we understand that they are cheated,” Babeyi said.