June 15th, 2009
01:01 PM ET
5 years ago

McCain calls Iran vote result 'corrupt'

Sen. John McCain told CNN that the results of Iran's recent elections are 'very disappointing…but not astonishing.'

Sen. John McCain told CNN that the results of Iran's recent elections are 'very disappointing…but not astonishing.'

(CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain responded sharply Monday to the disputed election result in Iran showing victory for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling the whole process "corrupt" and questioning the legitimacy of the current investigation into the matter.

"It's very disappointing ,of course, but not astonishing," McCain told CNN Monday. "The Muslim cleric extremists control the political mechanisms of Iran and it's not encouraging in a year that the ones who perpetrated this fraud are now going to be in charge of the investigation."

"I hope that we can succeed in our relations with Iran, but this is not a good sign and we should speak out strongly in opposition to what was clearly a corrupt election," said McCain.

The comments come after three days of unrest that prompted Iranian authorities to launch a probe into Friday's election result showing an overwhelming victory for Ahmadinejad over reformist Mir Hossein Moussavi.

The incumbent claimed 62 percent of the vote, prompting suspicion at home and abroad, particularly among Western countries already at loggerheads with Ahmadinejad over an Iranian nuclear program they fear is non-peaceful.

McCain's comments go significantly further than those of the Obama administration, which has not directly called the vote result a fraud but has expressed "concern."

"I think there are a number of factors that give us some concern about what we've seen," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Imagine what would have happened if McCain is POTUS.......

    By now he would have bombed Iran and the reason to start a war there would be "Election in Iran is based on fraud. So we will liberate Iran.."

    June 15, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Carl

    Dont' worry, America. We will make it our business. Like we always do. You wait.

    June 15, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Randolph Carter

    Holy moly, I just read we're going back to the moon. I'm speechless. What a freakin' waste of money. Who's the rocket scientist who decided we need to spend a katrillion dollars to get some nice rocks for the Smithsonian with the economy the way it is? I honestly can't believe it. Have a nice day, I guess!

    June 15, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Just_Saying

    So, where was McCain's outrage when the US election of 2008 was stolen by ACORN shenannigans?

    June 15, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. strong

    McCain is calling the Iranian elections corrupt? Why would he say that?

    I thought there was honor among thieves. All thieves.

    June 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Craig- Easton, PA

    Truthfully, it probably won't matter one way or the other, but it's pretty clear that verbally backing the mullahs into a corner so that they appear to be caving in to the US and others will eliminate any chance that they could come to the conclusion that reversing this travesty is in their best interests. Satisfying as it may be to chest thump, and I sure understand the feeling, it's time to let this play out a little more. There will always be time to condemn and sanction later if there is anything we haven't yet sanctioned. And don't forget that the "reformist" in this election is a member of the Guardian Council himself. Better perhaps than the current lunatic, but...

    June 15, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Dean

    Brilliant deduction John.

    June 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    I don't think the US is in any position to comment on the fairness of anyone else's elections. Let's clean up our own mess. Look at Bush in 2000 and Al Franken's situation in Minnesota today! It's disgusting and the Republicans are doing all of this behind the scenes much like the clerics in Iran!

    June 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Lynn

    Thank Goodness this man is not in charge. The last thing that is needed is for Americans to shout and scream and put the backs up of the people in charge of the Iranian gov't.

    Iranians need to do this without American interference. The Republicans have no idea what is going on behind the scenes just as they did not know what was going on behind the scenes in the pirate hostage situation.

    I also doubt that the republicans and their attitude to the Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East are really the friends of the people in the streets. Their attitudes, bellicose nature and arrogance have not worked and have created much of the animosity.

    June 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Pat F

    @ John Stames: ONLY a kool-aid drinking Obamatron could possibly equate Iran's election with the US elections!

    Did you know that ALL recounts of the Florida vote in 2000 by the major newspapers found that Bush won – Gore LOST – by a lot?

    hahahahha! Thanks for the laugh of the day, dearie.

    June 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Jimmy the Greek

    I guess this puts Obama in a hard spot....


    Does he call for investigations into the election??

    Or does he continue reaching to Ahmadinejad – and legitimize the questionable victory?


    Obama doesn't care whether the vote was legitimate or not. Obama regularly meets with dictators and works with leaders who slaughter their own political enemies.

    Look at the relationship between Obama and Kenyan Leader, Raila Odinga, who called for the killing of hundreds of opponents.

    June 15, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Mike P.

    I'd like to see the evidence for Mr McCain's statement "clearly corrupt election". Not that that may not be the case but what proof is there? Is he privy to other information?

    June 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. RealityKing

    How about lets stop encouraging the Mullahs to crack down on these kool-aid drunken youth being driven by our news coverage? Unless of course, they always carry says written in ENGLISH!

    June 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. CNN = Moveon.org

    @John Starnes Tampa Florida

    It is sad to see you still believe in fairy tales. There is no reasoning with people like you who still believe in all the lies put forth by the conspiracy theorists. You LOST in 2000 and 2004. Grow up and move on. The rest of the normal world has.

    June 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. David

    The lack of restraint to avoid 'knee jerk' reactions on major political issues is primary to why the republicans get themselves in so much trouble.

    Making outlandish claims without having the 'verified facts' BEFORE making such statements. This is 'exactly' how we ended up in the Iraq war. Jumping to conclusions before 'verified' facts are carefully analyzed. Reacting the the gut or 'heart', instead of the brain. More often than not, erroring on the side of wrong, and creating conflict where there was none.

    This is exactly why the Obama administration is not jumping on one side or another, but letting the Iranian government conduct their probe, while gathering as much intelligence(not a bad word) as possible in the background.

    For McCain, this was an unnecessary response that makes it even clearer that he was not ready for a leadership role, and digs the hole even deeper for the republican party.

    June 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Monty

    It doesn't matter which leader was "elected" in Iran...it's a matter of "which crazy gets elected." It's no secret that the supreme leader of Iran really runs the show, so very little would have changed.

    This type of comment from McCain is exactly why I'm glad he didn't get elected. SHOOT FIRST, BUT DONT BOTHER ASKING QUESTIONS BECAUSE THEY WERE PROBABLY TERRORISTS!!! He doesn't even begin to understand basic concepts or elements of various world cultures-he just jumps to conclusions, that are largely irrelevant in the first place.

    June 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Susan, Macedon New York

    Well said, John from Tampa
    The only difference between the Iranian election and the US election of 2000 was that the American people didn't take to the streets in protest.

    Maybe we should have. It might have saved the world a lot of heartache.


    June 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. ObamaShrugged

    Did BHO send a congratulatory letter to Ahmadinejad yet, like the one he got in January?

    June 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. FreeNLovIt - Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed (1SPMI) of the gospel, for it is (3SPAI) the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (PAPMSD), to the Jew first & also to the Greek

    USA has set such a great example in the past 8 years that now, the whole world is following it's lead. We have had two BAD elections, infested with fraud.

    June 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. John in Tampa

    I agree that the Iranian election appears to be fraudulent. It flies in the face of age and sex demographics in Iran. It denies the logic of changing administrations when economics (or other elements) are failing, as is the case in Iran today. These people prevented transparency in the process, and unbelievably they managed to tabulate some 37 million PAPER ballots to within a fraction of a percent all within an hour or two of the polls' closing. No, that's frankly unbelievable. I agree they must be lying about that.

    However, Senator McCain, (1) maybe some majority of the Iranian voters really did vote as reported, such that the result is legitimate, and (2) in foreign policy America needs to speak with just one voice, and you are not it. Here you go again, off the handle, when you no more than me can yet have absolute knowledge of the facts.

    June 15, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Well we need some evidence of the elections being fixed. Just because the candidate we liked did not win, does not mean the election was fixed.

    Moussavi, whom I wished had won, has evidence of a fradulent election, then he needs to present it to the approprate Iranian review council.

    If there is no evidence of fradulent elections, I am afraid that the election will stand.

    This is not the first time an umpopular President was reelected against all odds. Remember, "we" reelected bush in 2004.

    June 15, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    So John, did you know that the cleric extremists control the political mechanisms of our own country...what do you intend to do about that? Cue smug McCain smile.....

    June 15, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Lori tells GOP that u can be ideologically conservative & be a Dem (ie. A.A & Hispanic voters) Doesn't mean you'll vote Republican!

    I guess that means we should stage a coup, right McCain? We all know Ahmadinejad stole the election (like Bush in 2000) but we Americans cannot keep imposing our will in countries (like we did in Iraq). It will crush all support we have in the Middle East now. Our President should not legitimize Ahmadinejad's self-appointment whatsoever. All the protests in Iran goes to show some Americans in this country that people (especially the youth and educated women) in the Middle East want change and with our new President want better relations with America. The majority of people in the Middle East AREN'T 'terrorists' or 'extremists'. My support goes out to the protesters! Keep up the fight!

    June 15, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Fordy in Jamaica

    Wonder if he would've said the same thing if he were President. That would have certainly nullified any possibilty of talks with Iran. These people just don't get it...Words matter!!!

    June 15, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Pete

    The US, unfortunately, has to sit back and see what comes out on the other side. If we openly state "go get 'em Iranian people, overthrow the mullahs", what happens just in case the mullahs win that fight? Or, what would happen if a US call for the Iranians to rise up would be misinterpreted as an implied promise to assist in their rebellion. Remember the long term trust issues the Iraqis had with us when Bush the First encouraged them to rebel against Saddam and then would not help.

    I know that conservatives always like to swagger and act tough, but unfortunately we have to be patient.

    June 15, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6