(CNN) - The White House is watching closely the results of the Iranian election, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Saturday.
“Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities,” Gibbs said in a statement.
The Iranian government announced Saturday that incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the nation’s closely watched election with 62.63 percent of the vote. The results were met with skepticism from supporters of the main challenger, former Prime Minster Mir Hossein Moussavi.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed Gibbs on Saturday, saying, “We watched closely the enthusiasm and the very vigorous debate and dialogue that occurred in the lead up to the Iranian elections.
“We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in Iran, but we, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide. The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran, we obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people,” she said.
Angry crowds on Saturday gathered in Iran’s capital and broke into shops, tore down signs and started fires as they protested Ahmadinejad’s re-election, according to a CNN team on the ground.
Before the vote count ended, Moussavi issued a sharply worded letter urging the counting to stop because of "blatant violations" and lashed out at what he indicated was an unfair process.
Moussavi said the results from "untrustworthy monitors" reflected "the weakening of the pillars that constitute the sacred system" of Iran and "the rule of authoritarianism and tyranny." Independent vote monitors were banned from polling places.
What officials have called an unprecedented voter turnout at the polls Friday had been expected to boost Moussavi's chances of winning the presidency.