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Polls Close in Iran's Tight Presidential Election

  • VOA News

Voting has ended in Iran's tight presidential election, where officials kept polls open an additional four hours apparently because of a large turnout.

There has been no independent estimate of the turnout. Some pro-reform leaders had urged voters to boycott. Election results could come as early as Saturday, but analysts predict a run-off will be necessary between the top two finishers.

Seven candidates are vying to succeed outgoing President Mohammad Khatami. The front-runner is moderate cleric and former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Other candidates include reform candidate Mostafa Moin and several hard-line conservatives.

The United States has criticized Iran's rulers for disqualifying many candidates and undermining democracy. Iranian officials denounced the criticism.

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