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Iran's Bitter Presidential Campaign Comes to an End


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a final tirade against his opponents, as the presidential campaign came to an end ahead of Friday's vote.

In a message broadcast Wednesday on state television, Mr. Ahmadinejad accused his rivals of launching unfair attacks against him. He also praised his administration's accomplishments, including advancing Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Earlier, Mr. Ahmadinejad, addressing a rally in Tehran, accused his opponents of adopting smear tactics used by Nazi Germany's leader Adolf Hitler.

His chief election rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, a reformist, has leveled sharp attacks of his own, accusing the president of lying by saying the economy is improving. He has also criticized Mr. Ahmadinejad's description of the Holocaust as a myth, saying such positions isolate Iran from the international community.

Thousands of Mr. Mousavi's supporters, dressed in the campaign's color, green, marched in the streets of Tehran Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a top official of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Yadollah Javani, accused Mr. Mousavi's supporters of waging a "velvet revolution" -- a term used to describe the non-violent ouster of the Communist government in Czechoslovakia in 1989.

Mr. Mousavi made a campaign visit Wednesday to Iran's Lorestan province. Iran's Mehr news agency quotes him as telling supporters that a resource-rich nation such as theirs should not have to live in poverty.

Another candidate, former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has complained about comments that Mr. Ahmadinejad made during a debate, accusing the Rafsanjani family of corruption.

The former president appealed to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a letter Tuesday not to remain silent over Mr. Ahmadinejad's remarks. Mr. Rafsanjani warned that the repetition of lies and false allegations in the campaign may trigger social unrest.

The other two presidential candidates are reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi and conservative former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaei.

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