Iran has arrested 26 people, including a top military official, accused of electoral violations ahead of Friday's presidential runoff vote. Iran's official news agency says the arrests come amid investigations of more than 100 alleged violations in the first round of voting last week. Also on Thursday, President Mohamad Khatami ordered key government ministries to ensure clean elections. In a letter to the ministries, he blamed unnamed individuals for creating fear and making threats in an effort to influence the election.
Friday's vote between former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Tehran Mayor Mahmood Ahmadinejad is the country's first-ever runoff. Mr. Rafsanjani has portrayed himself as a reformer, promising to improve ties with the West. His conservative rival, Mr. Ahmadinejad, has vowed to fight poverty and corruption, and improve distribution of the country's oil wealth.