A US national flag and a POW flag fly high on top of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 14, 2013. In the US, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14, commemorating the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The US Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
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