MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti) - The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack Obama was hasty and premature, the Iranian Foreign minister said on Saturday.
The Nobel Committee announced the award on Friday for Obama's "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
Manouchehr Mottaki said the decision was premature and it might have been better to wait until the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan.
"This decision was clearly made in haste. However, we will support and welcome the move if it helps promote peace and harmony in war-weary countries," he said, according to Iran's Press TV.
Mottaki said the appropriate time for giving the award would be when Palestinian rights were respected and occupation forces fully withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Obama said he was "surprised and deeply humbled" by the award, which he called "an affirmation of American leadership."
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Obama said: "I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership."