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Iran's Election Commission Proclaims Ahmedinejad Victor


Iran's Interior Ministry has proclaimed incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad the victor after votes were tabulated from Friday's nationwide election.

According to election commission figures, Mr. Ahmedinejad won about 62 percent of the vote to nearly 34 percent for his closest competitor Mir Hossein Mousavi. Moussavi complained of voting irregularities.

Final results from Iran's presidential election were announced by Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, Saturday, who proclaimed incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad the victor with 62.6 percent of the vote.

Riot police took up positions around key government buildings across the capital Tehran, before going on the offensive against opposition supporters protesting the election results, hitting them with batons and damaging their vehicles.

Mr. Ahmedinejad's main rival, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, complained of extensive voting irregularities even before polls closed, late Friday, calling the results "astounding" and condemning electoral "manipulation" by the government.

Official results credited Mr. Ahmedinejad with 24 million votes to 13 million for Mir Hossein Mousavi. Challengers Mohsen Rezaei and Mehdi Karroubi trailed far behind with neither winning over a million votes.

President Ahmedinejad told Iranian television that he was pleased that a majority of electors had thrown him their support.

Presidential press advisor Ali-Akbar Javanfekr emphasized that the re-election of Mr. Ahmedinejad signified "strong support for the way the government has conducted its policies and is a vehement 'no' to Iran's enemies."

Meanwhile, reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who many analysts had been expecting to win Friday's presidential election said that he would not admit defeat.

He insisted that he is not prepared to surrender in the face of what he is calling dangerous and fabricated results.

Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli told reporters that election results were clean, because monitors from "among the people, including teachers and ordinary citizens" were present at all polling stations, in addition to observers from Iran's Guardians Council.

Mahsouli indicated that complaints or demands for a recount would be handled by the Guardians Council. "Any candidate who has a complaint," he said, "must present his evidence and it will be investigated in accordance with the law."

One Tehran resident expressed astonishment at the results of the election, saying he was sure that Mr. Mousavi had won. "80-90 percent of Tehrani voters were in favor of Mousavi," he said, but now, he said, he was shocked at the official results.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also went on TV to thank Iranians for voting and indicated that he was pleased with the results:

He says that he would like to thank each voter that participated in the election, individually and that he wants to wish the Iranian people well, since they are the protectors of the nation.

Support for former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi was strongest in many Iranian cities, and some analysts were predicting further unrest in the wake of his defeat. The political chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, however, indicated Wednesday that his group was prepared to "crush" any revolution against the country's Islamic regime.


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