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Iran Extends Polling Hours in Presidential Runoff

An Iranian clergyman casts his vote in the ballot box number one for the presidential run-off elections at the Masoumeh shrine in the city of Qum, Iran
Iran extended polling by several hours in Friday's presidential runoff between one of the country's most experienced politicians and a hard-line rival.

Initially, polls were supposed to close at 7:00 p.m. local time. But they were still open more than three hours later as voting stations were packed with people in many areas.

Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani cast his ballot Friday in Tehran, vowing to combat extremism if he is elected. The moderate cleric also has promised to improve ties with the West, and to make social and political reforms.

His rival is Tehran Mayor Mahmood Ahmadinejad, who has pledged to defend the country's nuclear program from Western criticism. The Revolutionary Guard veteran also said he would fight poverty and corruption, and give more Iranians access to the country's oil wealth, if elected.

Vote results are expected Saturday.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.