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Iran says partial vote recount shows that election was valid

Demonstrators march in Los Angeles on Sunday to protest the crackdown in Iran after the disputed presidential election. 

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Demonstrators march in Los Angeles on Sunday to protest the crackdown in Iran after the disputed presidential election. 

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's Guardian Council announced its "final decision" Monday on the disputed June 12 presidential election, dismissing all opposition complaints of fraud and affirming a landslide victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The decision was greeted by a loud eruption of the nighttime rooftop chanting that has become a hallmark of opposition protests amid an intensifying government crackdown.

Before the announcement, security forces, including members of the pro-government Basij militia, deployed in large numbers to prevent street protests, witnesses said. But that did not stop people from taking to their rooftops to chant "Allahu akbar" (God is great) and other slogans in a form of protest used by the popular movement that ultimately deposed the shah of Iran three decades ago.

The Guardian Council, a 12-member supervisory body that oversees elections and certifies results, made the announcement after conducting a partial recount in an effort to mollify political opponents who charge that Ahmadinejad benefited from massive vote-rigging.

In a letter to Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsouli, the head of the Guardian Council said members reached their "final decision" on the election results following an extended review, Iran's state television and radio network reported.

The recount of 10 percent of ballot boxes went ahead over the objections of two opposition presidential candidates. The two — former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and cleric Mehdi Karroubi — refused on Sunday to present their complaints to the special committee. Their spokesmen said the committee would be biased.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in response to a reporter's question about the council's action, "Obviously, they have a huge credibility gap with their own people as to the election process, and I don't think that's going to disappear by any finding of a limited review of a relatively small number of ballots."

Results released June 13 by the Interior Ministry showed that Ahmadinejad received nearly 63 percent of the vote, followed by Mousavi with less than 34 percent. Mohsen Rezai, a former commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, came in a distant third, the ministry said.

FAST FACTS

Inquiry into death

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday urged Iran's judicial chief to investigate the June 20 killing of Neda Agha Soltan, who has become an icon of the opposition since her dying moments were captured on cell phone cameras and distributed on the Internet worldwide. Protesters say she was shot by a member of the pro-government Basij militia. Officials say she was killed by "terrorists."

fast facts

Inquiry into death

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday urged Iran's judicial chief to investigate the June 20 killing of Neda Agha Soltan, who has become an icon of the opposition since her dying moments were captured on cell phone cameras and distributed on the Internet worldwide. Protesters say she was shot by a member of the pro-government Basij militia. Officials say she was killed by terrorists.

Iran says partial vote recount shows that election was valid 06/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 29, 2009 11:27pm]

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