WASHINGTON (AP) The White House is congratulating Iranians on their presidential election but says the Tehran government created an intimidating environment that limited free expression.
Moderate candidate Hasan Rowhani (hah-SAHN' roh-HAH'-nee) was declared the winner Saturday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the U.S. respects the results and congratulates Iranians for making their voices heard. But he says censorship and a lack of transparency preceded the vote.
Carney says the U.S. still wants a diplomatic solution to concerns about Iran's disputed nuclear program.
Rowhani won after a surge of support from reform-minded Iranians put him over 50 percent, thus avoiding a runoff.
The former nuclear negotiator became the default moderate candidate after ruling clerics barred more prominent reform candidates.