White House Backs Off Recognition of Ahmadinejad

Declines to 'Pass Judgment' on Ahmadinejad's Status as 'Elected Leader'

In the latest example of US officials sniping at the Iranian government, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs went out of his way to “correct” a Tuesday statement that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the “elected leader” of Iran.

Gibbs said that Ahmadinejad’s inauguration this week was “a fact,” but said that it was not for him to pass judgment on whether or not this made him Iran’s elected leader and added that it was up to the Iranian people to decide if the election was fair.

Iran’s June election was hotly disputed by reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, leading to weeks of violent protests and some of the most serious unrest Iran has seen since its 1979 revolution. The US has said that it will not congratulate President Ahmadinejad on his inauguration.

The US and Iran continue to have an extremely hostile relationship with one another, and while the Obama Administration continues to insist it is open to diplomatic talks with Iran, it remains unclear how this can possibly happen if they won’t even recognize the Iranian president.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.