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Iran's President-Elect Endorses Islamic State

  • VOA News

Iran's hard-line President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he wants his country to be a strong, modern Islamic state. In his first statement since defeating former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a landslide run-off vote Friday, Mr. Ahmadinejad sounded a conciliatory note, saying all competition should now turn into friendship. Official results gave Mr. Ahmadinejad 62 percent of the vote to 36 percent for Mr. Rafsanjani. Mr. Rafsanjani complained that millions had been spent in an unfair election campaign designed to destroy his image and that of his family. He was backed by pro-reform parties and wealthy Iranians fearful of a return to strict Islamic rule and further isolation from the West. Mr. Ahmadinejad, who takes office in August, appealed to the religious poor with his humble lifestyle and pledges to tackle corruption and redistribute the nation's oil wealth. The Iranian stock market experienced a sharp drop as worried investors sold off their shares. Apparently seeking to soothe investors' fears, Iranian news agencies carried a statement noting that Mr. Ahmadinejad had strongly supported capital markets during the election campaign.
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