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Ahmadinejad Win Sparks Protests in Tehran


Protesters clashed with police in the streets of Tehran Saturday, following the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The violence broke out Saturday shortly after Iran's interior minister (Sadeq Mahsouli) declared Mr. Ahmadinejad had won 62.6 percent of the vote. The results give the Iranian president nearly twice the number of votes as his closest rival, reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who won 33.75 percent.

In an address, Mr. Ahmadinejad declared the vote a great victory and called it a "completely free election."

But Mr. Mousavi alleged the vote was marred by serious vote irregularities, and thousands of his supporters marched in the streets of Tehran to denounce the results. Some hurled rocks at police, who used batons to beat back the demonstrators.

Mobile phone service has been cut off in the capital, and there are reports of problems accessing social networking sites such as Facebook.

The election results have surprised many analysts who predicted a tight race between the incumbent president and Mr. Mousavi.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, welcomed the results. He said the high voter turnout - at more than 80 percent - and the 24 million votes cast for Mr. Ahmadinejad are a "real celebration."

Videos of the demonstrations have been pouring in over social media networks, with images of fires burning in the streets and protesters chanting slogans.

Videos received by employees of VOA's Persian News Network on their personal accounts on the social networking site Facebook show thousands of opposition supporters marching in the streets.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's rivals have accused him of badly mismanaging the economy and tarnishing Iran's image, further isolating the country from the West.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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