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Iran Election In Dispute as 2 Candidates Claim Victory

After a hotly contested election pitting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against leading challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi, the government declared Ahmadinejad the winner on June 13. Mousavi's supporters took to the streets to protest the results, and were met with harsh security crackdowns.

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The Interior Ministry, which is overseeing the election and counting the votes, is headed by Sadegh Mahsouli, a staunch supporter of Ahmadinejad. But its results must be confirmed by the Guardian Council, a panel of senior Islamic clergymen led by Khamenei, the supreme leader. Khamenei and Mousavi, who was prime minister from 1981 to 1989, are members of an older generation of Iranian revolutionaries who overthrew the shah 30 years ago.

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Mousavi's statement and late-night news conference claiming victory capped a day of long lines at polling places across the capital, from the affluent neighborhoods in the north of the city to the working-class areas in the south.

"We haven't voted in 10 years time," said Giti Ghioshfar, who was waiting with her husband to cast ballots for Mousavi near Tehran's Fatemi Square. "We are here because we want more freedom," she said.

In Shahr-e Rey, south of Tehran, voter Ali Badiri said that young women without head scarves had been dancing in the streets over Mousavi's candidacy. "I'll vote for Ahmadinejad, because if Mousavi wins, they will be dancing naked next week," he said.

"We don't want to change Iran," said Abdollah Khalili, another Ahmadinejad voter. "We want this system to remain the way it is."

Researcher Kay Armin Serjoie contributed to this report.


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