U.S. views election of Iran’s Raisi as ‘pretty manufactured’

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price steps from the podium after speaking at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 31, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The United States said on Monday it views the process that made Ebrahim Raisi Iran’s president-elect as “pretty manufactured”.

“Our Iran policy is designed to advance U.S. interests and that is regardless of who is chosen as Iran’s president in a … process that we consider to be pretty manufactured,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Ned Price told reporters in a telephone briefing.

“This was not a free and fair election process,” Price said.

Millions of Iranians voted on Friday in a contest that was expected to hand the presidency to Raisi, a 60-year-old Shia cleric who is subject to U.S. sanctions for alleged human rights abuses.

With all 28.9 million ballots counted, Raisi was elected with a tally of 17.9 million, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on state TV on Saturday. Raisi will take office in early August, replacing pragmatist Hassan Rouhani.

Turnout in Friday’s four-man race was a record low of around 48%.

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