Monday, June 15, 2009

Iran Elections: AJC expresses "surprise" at Ahmadinejad victory

AJC expressed grave concern, if not surprise, at the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Iranian presidential elections.

Iranian state media are reporting that Ahmadinejad won over 60 percent of the vote. His principal rival for the post, Mir Hossen Moussavi, claimed that there were "irregularities" in the tallying of the vote. Protesters gathering in Tehran have been severely beaten by the police.

"The result is a triumph for fanaticism which may well have been enforced upon the Iranian people," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Since he became president in 2005, Ahmadinejad has demonstrated time and again that he is a world-class thug, serial human rights violator, and Holocaust denier. He has brought nothing but misery upon the Iranian people - and it appears that he will continue to do so, by fair means or foul."

Harris reiterated that Iran's nuclear program poses a major threat to regional and global security, noting that the program was championed by all candidates in the election, as well by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has denounced Israel as a "cancerous tumor."

"Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons," said Harris. "Ahmadinejad believes that nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles are the ways to project Iran's influence and reach -- and his zealous religious outlook. In doing so, Iran has repeatedly violated binding UN Security Council resolutions and International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines. The re-election of Ahmadinejad underscores why the international community must do all it can to deny the Iranian regime the means to carry out its dangerous and destabilizing ambitions."

Source: American Jewish Committee
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