Washington, June 17 (ANI): President Obama has said that it would be counterproductive for the United States "to be seen as meddling" in the disputed Iranian presidential election.
Dismissing criticism from several leading Republicans that he has failed to speak out forcefully enough on behalf of the Iranian opposition, the New York Times quoted Obama, as saying that while he had "deep concerns about the election," he said that any direct involvement by the United States would not be "productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations."
How Iran goes about electing its leaders and establishing freer debate and democratic principles "is something ultimately for the Iranian people to decide," he told reporters at the White House.
Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, offered some of the sharpest critiques of Obama's tempered response.
"He should speak out that this is a corrupt, flawed sham of an election," McCain said in an interview Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show.
"The Iranian people have been deprived of their rights," he added.
Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he agreed with Obama's approach.
"For us to become heavily involved in the election at this point is to give the clergy an opportunity to have an enemy and to use us, really, to retain their power," Lugar said in an interview on the CBS News program "The Early Show." (ANI)