(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.