BEIJING, June 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The U.S. administration has asked Twitter-- the social networking and micro-blogging service -- to delay its maintainance and avoid disruption in communications by the Iranians who use the service in the wake of their disputed presidential election.
A State Department official in Washington said Twitter had been asked to delay Monday's shutdown because it was being used as "an important means of communications" in Iran.
The official told reporters on condition of anonymity that Twitter was all the more important because the Iranian government "had shut down other websites, cell phones, and newspapers."
"One of the areas where people are able to get out the word is through Twitter," the official said. "They announced they were going to shut down their system for maintenance and we asked them not to."
Meanwhile, Iran directly protested the United States for meddling in the deepening dispute over the election.
An Iranian statement said the government summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, to complain about the interference. The two countries severed diplomatic relations after 1979 Islamic Revolution.
On Tuesday, however£¬ president Barack Obama firmly stressed that the United States does not want to be seen as interfering in the aftermath of the Islamic republic¡¯s disputed presidential polls.
¡°It is not productive, given the history of US-Iranian relations to be seen as ... meddling in Iranian elections,¡± Obama said.
The State Department insisted that its move did not amount to meddling.
¡°This is completely consistent with our national policy,¡± P.J. Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, told the New York Times Wednesday.
¡°We are proponents of freedom of expression. Information should be used as a way to promote freedom of expression.¡±
Officials also stepped up claims that foreign hands have been behind the unrest.