U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said
Monday that a "huge credibility gap" remains among Iranians about their
country's June 12 presidential election, despite the partial vote recount that
is said to have upheld the announced victory by incumbent President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad. Clinton also deplored Iran's detention of several Iranian staff
members of the British embassy in Tehran.
Clinton says the broad
skepticism among Iranians about the electoral process and the apparent
re-election of President Ahmadinejad is unlikely to be quelled by Monday's
announcement by Iran's Guardian Council that a partial recount upheld the
The powerful council, which supervises
elections and has wide-ranging powers in the Islamic government, said a random
recount of 10 percent of the ballot boxes nationwide upheld Mr. Ahmadinejad's
landslide victory over reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi.
appearing at the State Department's daily press briefing, said she did not want
to speculate on Iran's political future, but she that the reported recount is
unlikely to do much to defuse election-related tensions.
have a huge credibility gap with their own people as to the election process,"
said Hillary Clinton. "And I don't think that's going to disappear by any
finding of a limited review of a relatively-small number of ballots. But
clearly, these internal matters are for Iranians themselves to address. And we
hope that they will be given the opportunity to do so in a peaceful way that
respects the right of expression. And it has been my position and that of our
administration that we support the fundamental values of peoples' voices being
heard, their votes being counted. And we'll have to see how this
Clinton declined to say whether the Obama administration will
formally recognize Mr. Ahmadinejad's re-election, saying U.S. officials are
going to "take this a day at a time" and carefully assess what
She also would not say whether the violent election aftermath
has ended U.S. hopes of engaging Iran on its nuclear program and other issues of
concern. But Clinton said it certainly is a reason for caution in dealing with
"We're going to watch this unfold and were going to act in
America's national interests," she said. "That's what this has always been
about. It has never been about Iran as much as it's been the values, goals and
interests of the United States of America. And we remain committed to doing all
we can to try to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power. So we're
going to watch this. And we're going gauge our actions
Clinton said Iran's arrest of several Iranian staff members
of the British embassy in Tehran for alleged links to post-election unrest was
deplorable and that the United States continues to support Britain in seeking
the release of those still held.