x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ahmadinejad: election real and free

The Iranian president says his re-election was "real and free" and cannot be questioned - despite accusations of mass voter fraud.

The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to journalists as he attends his first news conference after re-election.
The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to journalists as he attends his first news conference after re-election.

TEHRAN, IRAN // The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today his re-election was "real and free" and cannot be questioned - despite accusations of mass voter fraud. Mr Ahmadinejad made the comments during a press conference - his first since the government announced that he was re-elected to a second term in a landslide victory during Friday's vote. But his top opponent accused the government of voter fraud and many of his supporters have clashed with police in Tehran's streets. About a mile away from Mr Ahmadinejad's press conference, young Iranians set trash bins, banks and tyres on fire as riot police beat them back with batons. "In Iran, the election was a real and free one. The election will improve the nation's power and its future," he said.

When asked about the allegations of voting irregularities, the hard-line president brushed the claims off, calling them unimportant. "Some believed they would win, and then they got angry. It has no legal credibility. It is like the passions after a football match. It is not important from my point of view," he said. "The margin between my votes and the others is too much and no one can question it." Mr Ahmadinejad also accused foreign media of launching a "psychological war" against the country. The president also said that any country that dared to attack Iran would "deeply regret" such a move.

Iran's refusal to halt nuclear work the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, a charge Tehran denies, has sparked persistent speculation that Israel or the United States might strike at the country's nuclear facilities. "Who dares to attack Iran? Who even dares to think about it?" Mr Ahmadinejad said in response to a question. * With agencies