Iranian president ridicules western outrage over election.




A defiant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ridiculed the refusal of western leaders to congratulate him, or respect the legitimacy of his re-election, as he was sworn in Wednesday for a second term as president of Iran.

The U.S., Britain, Canada, France and Germany all said they wouldn’t send congratulatory letters, and only Britain and the European Union sent diplomatic representatives to Wednesday’s ceremony.

"Nobody in Iran is waiting for anyone’s congratulations," Ahmadinejad said in a post-ceremony speech to parliamentarians, several of whom chuckled at that remark.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, after meeting with members of Canada’s Iranian-Canadian community in Vancouver, issued a statement Tuesday blasting the regime and its handling of the disputed June presidential elections and its subsequent violent crackdown against protesters.

«Our position on Iran is clear – the recent actions by the Iranian authorities are unacceptable to us and inconsistent with any tolerable standard of human rights,» Harper said in the statement.

«Iran must stop using violence against its own people, release political prisoners and journalists who have been unjustly detained and allow both domestic and international media to report freely.

«Our government also stands proudly with the people of Iran and with members of our own Persian community who are demanding a full and transparent investigation into allegations of electoral fraud during June’s Presidential vote.»

There are an estimated 120,000 Iranian-Canadians living mostly in the key electoral battlegrounds of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Several analysts have told Canwest News Service that the foreign policy decisions of recent Canadian governments have been increasingly been influenced by the views of diaspora groups

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