White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Wednesday said he had misspoken in calling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran’s elected leader and that Washington will let the Iranian people decide whether Iran’s election was fair.
“Let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday. I denoted that Mr. Ahmadinejad was the elected leader of Iran. I would say that’s not for me to pass judgment on,” Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One.
“He’s been inaugurated. That’s a fact. Whether any election was fair, obviously the Iranian people still have questions about that, and we’ll let them decide about that.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in as Iran’s president on Wednesday in a ceremony boycotted by reformist leaders and parliamentarians and marred by street protests over his victory.
The 53-year-old hard-liner took his oath of office nearly eight weeks after a disputed election that unleashed Iran’s worst unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution and divided the political and clerical elite.
Obama and the leaders of France, Britain, Italy and Germany have all decided not to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his re-election. Gibbs had called Ahmadinejad Iran’s “elected leader” on Tuesday during a briefing.