Iran brushes off election criticism

May 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

TEHRAN, May 23 (UPI) -- U.S. statements on the Iranian election process show a profound misunderstanding of the country's political system, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The 12-member Guardian Council in Iran announced this week that eight of the more than 650 registered candidates were qualified to compete in the presidential campaign. The election is June 14.

U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the vetting process was unfortunate.

"We think that the lack of transparency makes it unlikely that the slate of candidates represents the will of the Iranian people, who should be given every opportunity to choose a president who best embodies their views," he said.

Reformer and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, an ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were among those excluded from the final list.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said Ventrell's statement showed a lack of knowledge about Iran's political system.

"Flawed judgment on the basis of poor knowledge and misinformation about the electoral process in Iran, is not only interference in the Iranian nation's (domestic) affairs and in contradiction with basic international laws, but offends the political maturity and awareness of Iran's discerning people," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying.

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